At the southern end of the former Traverse City State Hospital property, near Historic Barns Park, is a single gravesite. But this is no ordinary gravesite, for this is the final resting place of Traverse Colantha Walker, a world champion milk-producing cow.
Colantha was born and milked on the grounds of the former asylum. The Holstein-Friesian cow was born on April 29, 1916, and by the time she died on January 8, 1932, Colantha had produced 200,114.9 pounds of milk and 7,525.8 pounds of fat. In one year alone (1926), she produced 22,918 pounds of milk—then a world record.
Colantha was a vital part of the old asylum’s history. One of the continuing goals of the Traverse City State Hospital was for the facility to be virtually self-sustainable. The efforts of both patients and staff helped make this goal a reality, and Colantha was an especially notable example of the program’s success.
The cow remains famous even today, as there is a Facebook page dedicated to her and an annual celebration held in her honor. Her picturesque gravesite sits upon a small knoll and is bookended by two large evergreen trees.
Know Before You Go
The gravesite is at the northeast corner of the Red Drive Loop, across the street from the Botanical Garden.