Molly and I visited this interesting attraction purely by accident. We took a wrong turn and decided not to go back.
North Dakota has a thing with giant statues of wildlife. On this same road trip, I discovered that the little town of Steele boasts “The World’s Largest Sandhill Crane.” And New Salem’s hilltop Holstein cow, Salem Sue, practically put North Dakota on the map. But Jamestown puts everything on a whole new scale with Dakota Thunder, the world’ largest buffalo. Visible from the Interstate, he’s the reason Jamestown is known as the Buffalo City.
Even at 75 miles per hour, Dakota Thunder is hard to miss. But look a little closer, in the valleys and hills below the statue. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a glimpse of Jamestown’s free-roaming bison herd, including three very rare and special white buffalo, White Cloud, Dakota Miracle, and Dakota Legend. The bison must have been over the hills and far away the day Molly and I visited.
The road to the bison statue takes you back in time to the old west. Jamestown’s Frontier Village is a huge collection of mostly historic buildings brought in from around the region and preserved by the Frontier Village Association. Some of the buildings were built on site, but you’d be challenged to pick them out as modern additions.
I was particularly interested in the Louis L’Amour writer’s shack. A native of Jamestown, North Dakota, L’Amour was one of the most famous western authors of all time. A display case inside contained a copy of each of his novels.
Molly was invited inside and made herself at home. She understands us writer types.
While some of the buildings were museums, some housed interesting gift shops.
Remarkably, there is no admission fee to see the village. You will, however, find donation canisters inside some of the buildings. Like all of North Dakota, the economy must be booming here, too, because even this little town is three times bigger than last time I remember.
Pawnotes from Molly
There were SO MANY interesting smells! Particularly near the bison range. I have not smelled bison before. It was very earthy and rich. I would have liked to determine if white buffalo chips smelled different from brown buffalo chips, but there was a fence in the way.
I was not fond of the bison statue. My girl tried to take a picture of me standing beneath the bison, but I made the mistake of looking it in the eye. It didn’t smell alive, but I don’t trust anything that big that has eyes and lowers over me.
My girl said that was okay, and let me sit several yards in front of the bison and lined up her shot to make it look like I was posing beneath the bison. She’s so understanding.
Not that I’m a coward. I wouldn’t have minded sniffing his butt.
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