The confiscation of Cows Colleges and Contentment?

IMG_1882 cows colleges contentment

Left: Bright Spencer alerted me that the ‘Cows Colleges and Contentment’ sign on North Hwy 3 near Dairy Queen is missing. Is the sign being repaired? Was it stolen?
Right: the sign looks like this, although that’s the Hwy 19 sign on the west side of town, blogged by Carleton student Ken Geiger in a piece for titled Where are all the cows? back in early 2007.


According to the Carleton Wiki entry for ‘Cows Colleges and Contentment’:

Around 1914, Northfield decided upon the official town motto of “Cows, Colleges and Contentment.”

… sometime in the 1970s, the motto was changed to “Northfield: A Special Place.” A low key campaign by leading citizens in the 1980s restored the old motto.

Hmm. Anyone remember who those ‘leading citizens’ were?


  1. Curt Benson said:

    Oh, oh. Is Phil Busse (Professor Pantydude) back in town?

    December 27, 2008
  2. John S. Thomas said:

    We drive by the sign every day.

    It has been down since the train derailment.

    December 27, 2008
  3. Jane McWilliams said:

    I believe Mary Zoe Scott may have been part of the “low key campaign.”

    December 29, 2008
  4. According to a timeline I put together for Northfield’s Sesquicentennial, a resolution recommending that Northfield go back to the slogan “Cows, Colleges and Contentment” from “Northfield: A Special Place” (how blah) was passed unanimously at a meeting of the Board of the Northfield Historical Society in January of 1989. (The slogan started in 1914 when Northfield was the Holstein capital of America, then was replaced due to the decline of the dairy industry here.) Of course, it took the Northfield City Council until November 18, 1991, to officially adopt the slogan again. The story in the Northfield News of Nov. 20, 1991, reports that the News and KYMN radio conducted polls showing strong support for the return of “Cows, Colleges and Contentment.”
    I had visitors from Washington state here who wanted to take a picture of the sign with that slogan on it, so it has reached iconic status.

    December 30, 2008

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