Salem Sue – Worlds Largest Holstein Cow

New Salem, North Dakota.

If you find yourself traversing the state of North Dakota on I-94 (or traveling the Old Red Old 10 Scenic Byway), near I-94 exit 127, look to the south. You can’t miss Salem Sue, New Salem residents claim her the world’s largest Holstein cow. At 38 feet (11.5 m) tall and 50 feet (15.3 m) in length, this fiberglass cow is easily visible from the Interstate from over a half-mile (1,000 m) away.

Salem Sue-2

For a better view of Salem Sue’s true size, here’s a reference photo with our traveling companion, Gary, getting an up-close look.

New Salem is dairy country in North Dakota so in 1974, the New Salem Lions Club erected the 12,000 lb (5443 kg) Holstein to honor and promote the many Holstein herds in the area. The Internet told me this, as well as three facts about Salem Sue.

  1. Salem Sue is all fiberglass, so she is hollow inside.
  2. She is so large, she can be seen from over 5 miles (8 km) away.
  3. The same artist that created Salem Sue also created the world’s largest catfish in Wahpeton, North Dakota.

These facts and more about Salem Sue can be found here.

Salem Sue-1

From Exit 127, follow the road the short distance into New Salem. A quick turn back to the north will bring you by this sign and the road will continue to climb up the hill to a parking area on the plateau where Salem Sue stands watch.

Old Red Old 10-6

The view from the base of that plateau will reward you with the sight of North Dakota’s agricultural heritage, thousands of acres of farmland. On the day of our visit in mid-September, though it was overcast, the beauty of the soon-to-be-harvested countryside lay before us.

Old Red Old 10-4

A placard near the viewpoint provides information on the large windmill farm visible in the distance. It claims the farm is the largest alternative energy source in the state. The placard, however, is old, and unless they’ve added many turbines, it is no longer the largest in the state. Near Valley City, North Dakota, a windmill farm of about 250 generators is now the state’s largest. I doubted the placard near Salem Sue because I’d flown over or near the Ashtabula windmill farms many times and I know how large that field is.

Old Red Old 10-3

If you get the chance, take a few minutes to leave the Interstate at exit 127 and proceed south toward New Salem. This privately funded project erected in honor of the dairy industry cost around $40,000 USD to build. There were no public funds involved.

Feel free to click on any of the images above to pixel peep and get close-up views in 2K HD. You can also visit the album page here to see the entire collection of images.

John Steiner


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