I was driving through Michigan on a short Michigan road trip, a day-long car trip from Chicago, to see a calamari eating contest and a presentation of the world’s biggest hamburger in Detroit. Along the way, as I always do on road trips, however short they may be, I stopped at random roadside attractions (like a giant basketball on the side of the highway) that were on my path… including this giant convenience store cow on a roof in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
I’m partial to any cow on roof roadside attraction. There is a big bovine on a restaurant in the town I grew up in… and this giant brown and white holstein, “the cow Ypsilanti MI”, was much, much bigger than any other cow on a roof I’d ever seen before.
And the store itself was a different type too, different than any convenience store I’d ever seen in my life. It was an optional drive through convenience store: cars drove up and an attendant was there to take their order and bring out what they’d like. Milk, cigarettes, Budweiser, whatever. So, when I arrived, I pulled up in line, took photos of the rooftop bovine from my window, and then, when it was my turn, drove on. Leaving behind one confused attendant. And one larger than life cow.
The building, and business, that is home to the the cow on the roof has gone through many changes over the years. It had previously been home to the Milk Depot and, later, the Carry Dairy (as it was when I visited). Most recently it housed Milas Market (also affectionally known as the Big Cow Store or just the Cow Store), a grocery store and deli.
“The Big Cow” AKA the “Big Milker” has sat atop the building since 1962. In 2019 the building was refreshed with bright green trip and the formerly brown and white cow was repainted in black and white.
It also looks like, as of 2019, that the business has gone out of business. So, whatever the fate of the drive-through within, let’s hope that the big cow on the roof lives to moo on for many years to come.
Convenience Store Cow on a Roof
Location: Milas Market, 979 Ecorse Rd, Ypsilanti, Michigan
Hours: Visible All Hours
Cost: Free to see, store hours vary.