The World’s Largest Buffalo Monument in Jamestown, North Dakota, is a must-see road trip stop for any roadside attraction lover! At 26 feet tall, 46 feet long, and weighing in at 60 tons, this big bison is certainly a site to behold!
The World’s Largest Buffalo is modeled after a male American bison… just on a slightly bigger scale (in fact, he is actually the size of about 60 male buffalo). And this anatomically correct bison is…well… all there.
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The sculpture was commissioned in 1959 by local businessman Harold Newman. There was money leftover from the town’s previous 75th anniversary in 1957 and it’s said that he wanted to create a big, magnificent roadside attraction that would entice passersby from the newly-constructed I-94 segment that passed through their town. He also wanted to trump the 26-foot tall talking Paul Bunyon statue in nearby Brainerd, Minnesota. Because, I mean, who wouldn’t?
The giant buffalo statue was designed by sculptor Elmer Petersen, who also worked as an art professor at Jamestown College. Under his supervision, a team of construction workers and locals built the giant bison sculpture out of a steel framework covered in concrete/cement.
In 2010, to celebrate the North Dakota roadside attraction’s 50th birthday, a contest was held to name to previously unnamed concrete mammal. With around 3,500 entries submitted, a moniker was finally bestowed upon the colossal creature: Dakota Thunder. Today, a sign with his name hangs in front of the massive buffalo.
The World’s Largest Buffalo statue isn’t the only attraction in Jamestown! While you’re checking out the famous North Dakota roadside attraction, plan to stay a while to visit the National Buffalo Museum and Frontier Village and see a real live herd of buffalo.
If you’re taking a North Dakota road trip on I-94 and pass Jamestown, make sure to take the detour and check out the World’s Largest Buffalo sculpture!
World’s Largest Buffalo Monument
Location: 404 Louis Lamour Ln, Jamestown, ND 58401
Hours: Open daily May – September, closed Sundays Oct-April. (Call to verify)
Cost: Free to See