A tornado swept through Kokomo, Indiana, just days before our visit. Sadly, the tornado destroyed homes. It leveled a Starbucks. It uprooted towering trees in Highland Park. Fortunately, it didn’t touch Old Ben’s home. Old Ben, the World’s largest steer, as well as a giant sycamore stump, are on display behind glass in the Highland Park visitor’s center.
Old Ben, World’s Largest Steer
When I first heard that Kokomo was home to the world’s largest steer, I expected a ginormous fiberglass steer likeness. Not so. Ben was once an actual living steer, born in 1902. He weighed 125 pounds at birth and gained about 100 pounds a month. At age 8, when he died, he weighed over 4700 pounds, stood over six feet tall, and measured 16.25 feet long from his nose to the tip of his tail.
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Old Ben met his demise when he fell and broke his leg. His owners, Mike and John Murphy, called the vet, who shot Old Ben. The beef from the world’s largest steer was made into frankfurters. The Murphys had his body stuffed, and they showed it at their farm for several years. It’s debatable whether they donated Old Ben to Kokomo or whether the city bought him for $300.
Giant Sycamore Stump
Partitioned off from Old Ben in the same Highland Park building sits the giant sycamore stump. A storm toppled the tree, which measured over 50 feet in circumference, leaving just the hollow stump. One newspaper report estimated the tree at 800 years old. Another report stated the tree was as old as 1500 years. The stump was moved from its original place near New London, Indiana, to Highland Park. Although the stump isn’t listed as the world’s largest sycamore stump, it certainly must be one of the largest.
Vermont Covered Bridge
Being covered bridge fans, we couldn’t help but notice the Vermont Covered Bridge in Highland Park. The final remaining Smith Type #3 Trusses in Indiana was moved to the park from its original location about five miles east of Kokomo. The bridge opens to foot traffic in the summer months.
If you visit Highland Park
Besides the attractions listed in this article, Highland Park, located at 900 W Deffenbaugh Street in Kokomo, Indiana, offers hiking trails, fishing, disc golf, and other amenities. Learn more about all of Kokomo’s parks at the City of Kokomo website.
We stayed at Courtyard Kokomo during our stay in Kokomo. Check rates here.
Disclosures: The Greater Kokomo Visitors Bureau hosted our visit to Kokomo. However, any opinions expressed in this article are my own.
This article contains an affiliate link. If you book a hotel room through this link, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.
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