Annie & Eric
Our giant iconic cows
Since 1966, Annie, the very large fiberglass cow (14 feet tall and a very impressive 2500 pounds) has stood watch at the corner of Hubbell and University, on the front lawn of Anderson Erickson Dairy. This famous East side Des Moines landmark was born when AE founder Iver Erickson decided it was important for his company to portray a clean, wholesome image, embodied by a Midwestern dairy cow.
In 1977, she left town for Sparta, Wisconsin, where she received a sprucing up and acquired a calf, Eric, who has stood beside her ever since. Eric is considerably smaller, as a calf should be, at 5 foot 10 inches tall and 250 pounds. Her absence and subsequent return drew quite a bit of notice in the local media and was covered by the Des Moines Register, and on many of the local TV and radio stations. Drawing particular attention was the return of the two cows by flatbed truck. Many drivers on the interstate were amazed to see the two oversize animals traveling along beside them.
Two years ago, Eric’s 25th birthday was celebrated by the dairy and again the media took note. Some years at Christmas, the cows have each sported a festive pair of antlers and stand guard over a beribboned bale of hay. At Iowa State Fair time, the mother and son duo have sported blue ribbons in anticipation of the arrival of the Fair. For many East side residents, Annie and Eric are part of the tradition of Anderson Erickson, which has been bringing the freshest dairy products to customers since 1930.
On Thursday, October 18, 2007, Annie and Eric were involved in a cow caper. At about 2 AM employees in the plant were startled by a loud crash and thud. When they reached the side of the building where they heard the noise, they were surprised to see that there were deep ruts from tire tracks right in front of the cows. Annie sustained a large gash to her left front ankle, and Eric was nowhere to be found. He had been completely knocked from his cement perch next to Annie. Des Moines police came to the scene and quickly located an SUV used in the caper along with Eric the calf. Eric’s initial diagnosis was that his injuries were terminal, and he might have to be put down. News reporters from all the network television stations got to the scene quickly and thoroughly covered every aspect of the story including the placement of a memorial wreath in Eric’s absence. There was an outpouring of concern from area residents including numerous offers to repair Eric and Annie. With the help of our friends at O’Halloran International, Annie and Eric were restored to full health in time for the Christmas Holiday.