Many statues of beloved children’s story characters make Abilene, Texas the Storybook Capital of America.
Laura Gutschke and Greg Jaklewicz, Abilene Reporter-News
It was an udderly tragic scene.
A city of Abilene employee was tipping a cow – a cow sculpture, that is – Thursday morning. He and three other workers were making repairs after a car struck some of the four iconic black-and-white metal cow statues called “The Herd” near Winters Freeway and Fire Station No. 6 at 1482 S. Danville Drive.
With a morning temperature of about 32 degrees, it was too chilly for the guys to milk this project. They were mooving briskly to repair the bases and other parts of some of the sculptures.
A witness contacted Abilene police about 2:40 a.m. Sunday to report that someone, possibly in a white car, was in the grassy area. It appears the driver struck one or more of the cows and a tree before driving off, said Abilene police spokesman Rick Tomlin.
“The Herd” by artist Wayne Amerine was installed in 1987 as a permanent display after a temporary exhibit in downtown Abilene as part of the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council’s Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition, said Sidney Levesque, marketing director for Abilene Cultural Affairs Council.
“The ACAC decided to raise money to keep them here because everyone loved them,” she said.
The Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition is the longest running exhibition of its kind in Texas, Levesque said.
A public campaign called Save Our Cows Moovement raised $6,400 to have “The Herd” permanently pastured next to the fire station, according to “A Comprehensive Guide to Outdoor Sculpture in Texas” (1996) by Carol Morris Little.
“The cows were permanently placed next to the fire station because of the visible location. Thousands of people could enjoy them everyday,” Levesque said.
Because mowing the area around the cows falls to the city, so too does the upkeep of the cows, said city spokeswoman Mari Cockerell.
“The Herd” originally numbered five, but a calf was stolen many years ago, Levesque said.
Anyone with information on the calfnapping should call ACAC at 325-677-1161 or email email@example.com.
Laura Gutschke is a general assignment reporter and food columnist and manages online content for the Reporter-News. If you appreciate locally driven news, you can support local journalists with a digital subscription to ReporterNews.com.
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