If you’re going to chat with a cow, why not pick one who chats back? Chatty Belle, the World’s Largest Talking Cow, is ready to converse with you in Neillsville. Chatty is a big Belle, standing 16 feet tall and 20 feet long; she’s about seven times largest than the average Holstein cow. But then again, the average Holstein doesn’t talk.
Chatty was for the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City and was installed in Neillsville, the seat of Clark County, afterward. She given her name by a 1st grader who hailed from nearby Loyal in 1966 – the prize for the little girl’s naming skills was 100 pounds of butter and a trip through the Grassland Dairy Cheese Factory.
So with Chatty’s size, how productive would she be if she were real vs. a fiberglass Holstein? James Crowley, a former Extension Dairyman at the University of Wisconsin, ran the numbers and calculated that Chatty would produce 270 pounds of milk per day – that’s 83,000 pounds per year. She’s also consumer 11 tons of grain, equivalent to 24.5 tons of silage, per year. That’s 24.5 tons of silage for 41.5 tons of milk, if you like figuring the ratios.
Chatty was originally branded as the world’s largest cow, but there was a larger one elsewhere. So a coin-operated voice box was added, allowing her to keep the title of “World’s Largest Talking Cow.” Chatty’s conversational abilities lean toward touting Wisconsin’s dairy products (shocker) but her voice box has been off-and-on in operation lately, so we can’t guarantee she’ll be in a talkative mood when you see her.
Next door is the building used for the Wisconsin Pavilion in the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City; its design is very 60s/Jetsons/retro-but-futuristic. This cool structure now houses WCCN-AM/FM & WPKG-FM radio, along with a gift shop that sells post cards and cheese. The broadcast-style tower atop the building, with “Wisconsin” spelled out in vertical lettering, drew plenty of attention at the World’s Fair.
Chatty sits right along U.S. 10 just east of downtown Neillsville. Highway 73 comes within a few blocks to the west; Highway 95 approaches Neillsville from the south and is also a good access point.
Address for Chatty Belle, the World’s Largest Talking Cow:
1201 E. Division Street (U.S. 10)
Neillsville, WI 54456