Thorp, Wisconsin is one of those places you speed by on your way elsewhere. It is classic small town America, deep in dairy country.
But I had been meaning to swing through and have a look at, of all things, a restaurant that intrigued me. It had previously been visible from the highway but is now partially obscured by unremarkable later development.
It has been around for quite a while, going back to 1965 according to the few scraps of info I have been able to find on it. I love the classic neon sign. Its blue back ground has faded more than the rest of the establishment so I assume the current Thorpedo building is not the original. It is in any event much older than Ian Thorpe, an Australian Olympic swimmer, who has adopted the same nickname. I wonder if in his travels he ever stopped in?
Oh, did I mention we are in dairy country? Thorp, the village not the swimmer now, has a series of decorative statues perched about town. Lets visit.
This is "Flower Cow" and her calf "Petunia". Mom has the patient expression of mothers everywhere. Petunia looks to me to be in an adolescent rebellion stage.
This is Pumpkin Cow, so named to highlight Thorp's annual Pumpkin Festival. The inscription stone underneath has the rather needless admonition to not sit on the cow. Ouch, the leaves and stem...
Across the street is a bank. This specimen is technically called "Country Life Cow". But sitting in front of a place that makes farm loans I alternately dub her "Shylock Cow".
She's an upstanding bovine citizen in contrast to this next one. Sitting outside the local butcher shop we find what I call "Quisling Cow". (The establishment btw is Nolechek Meats and has some very good products.)
Of sterner and more honorable stuff we find, down in Veterans Park, "Patriotic Cow". No cowardly appeasement here this gal is ready for martial business.
You might opine that her choice of camouflage is imprudent but if you feel strongly on the point feel free to hunt down the most elusive of the cow sculptures "Cam-Moo-Flage Cow"!
Oh, I'll make it easier for you. There is a map showing the locations of all 23 of the Cows of Thorp.
Serious fans of such matters will of course recognize these as the handiwork of a Sparta, Wisconsin company called F.A.S.T. Fiberglass Animals Shapes and Trademarks. If you want to order something of this sort I offer you their catalog. Enjoy.