Here’s another stop to make on your Michigan road trip this summer: the grave of the “World Champion Cow of the Insane” in Traverse City.


That’s what I said. Northern Michigan Asylum opened in Traverse City back in 1885 and gradually became HUGE. It contained orchards & gardens that grew apples, cherries, peaches and tons of vegetables & crops. The area was also overrun with all sorts of livestock…including cows.

Out of all the animal inhabitants, the one who continues to live in infamy was a cow named Traverse Colantha Walker. She was a Grand Champion milker cow who gave a total of 200,114 pounds of milk and 7,525 pounds of butter. When Ms. Walker passed away in 1932, the asylum staff & patients held a commemorative banquet in her honor…no word on if they actually ate Ms. Walker’s remains or not. They buried her (or maybe what was left) on the grounds not far from the barn where she called home.

And now you can visit this marker of this champion milkcow. Even though the asylum has been closed for years, the gravestone stands.

This area is now known as Grand Traverse Commons with the buildings converted into yuppie-and-golf-lover eateries and shops.

How do you find it?
US-31 north to Traverse City.
Hang a left on 11th St., then cross Elmwood Ave.
You’ll see the grounds…bear left.
Look for Silver Drive that becomes a dirt road and bends to the right.
The grave is at the intersection of this and another dirt road. Look for two dairy barns…nearby, the gravestone is under a tree.

Have fun road-tripping thru our state and spend your hard-earned dough in Michigan this summer!!!

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