Where is our cow monument?
Photo by Peter Baiamonte
Small commemorative stones for beloved pets are common, but a monument to a cow? That’s different. And it is right here in Lee. The honoree is Lady Highfield Colantha Mooie, a Holstein-Friesian who held the world’s record for milk production in the 1920s and early 1930s.
In an era when Babe Ruth was slugging 714 home runs, mostly for the Yankees, Colantha was every bit as heroic. She is said to have yielded 205,928.5 pounds of high-quality milk (which is equal to 103 tons). To put her feat in perspective, the average dairy cow of that era gave 22,000 pounds of milk in a career. It would have taken nine average cows to equal her production.
At current prices, that is worth about $125,000, and while The Babe commanded six-figure salaries, Colantha never asked for anything but a warm barn and plenty of hay.
Farmer John Ellis honored his beloved bovine with a five-foot stone in front of the former farmhouse on Fairview Street. Today, neighbors decorate Colantha’s final resting place with summer flowers. Google her name and you will find that her fame has spread to places such as Rochester, New York; Wilmington, Delaware; Corpus Christi, Texas; and Ottawa, Ontario. Even the owner of the new Shire Breu-Hous in Dalton [story in Eats] is a fan and named a beer after her—Colantha Mooie—a milk stout no less.
Every year, hundreds of visitors cruise slowly past Colantha’s grave because, says Lee Chamber of Commerce executive director Colleen Henry. “Who doesn’t love a monument to a heroic cow?”
You can visit the monument in the 700 block of Fairview Street, which runs from Route 102 in South Lee to West Park Street near downtown.