World's Largest Buffalo – Jamestown, North Dakota - Atlas Obscura

World's Largest Buffalo

A true roadside icon standing on the same plains that the herds once roamed. 


At 60 tons—the equivalent of 60 full grown male buffalo—this is truly “The World’s Largest Buffalo.”

Built in 1959 by Jamestown College art instructor Elmer Paul Peterson, the buffalo is made from gunnite—a type of sprayed cement—over 1/4 inch wire mesh framed with 8 inch steel beaming, and 3/8 inch reinforcing rod. The first giant roadside sculpture built in North Dakota it measures in at 46 feet long, 26 feet in height and cost some $8500 to make.

In 1965 a replica old west town named “Frontier Village,” was built next to it, and includes a grocery store, school house, church, jail house, wishing well, Midland and Northern Pacific caboose, mine shaft, printing shop, post office, fire department with three old fire trucks, train depot, log cabin, art salon, souvenir shop, and even a barber shop.

To celebrate the sculpture’s 50th birthday, a contest was held in 2010 to name the buffalo. Dakota Thunder was the winning name.

Nearby is a live herd of buffalo—including “White Cloud,” an extremely rare albino buffalo—and the National Buffalo Museum.

Know Before You Go

Though visible from the freeway, to find this truly unique North Dakota roadside attraction take Exit 258 off of Interstate 94, Proceed north on Highway 281 for 3 blocks, Turn right at the stoplight and follow the road east for seven blocks. You can't miss it, trust me!

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