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Norma and Toledo’s Cow-Calf sculpture to give birth to another

City Council gives go-ahead to Iowa State to use orginal for model

July 11, 2018
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

A second of artist Norma "Duffy" Lyon's Cow-Calf sculpture replicating the one in Toledo is in the works.

"Approximately two years ago we were discussing how the cow-calf sculpture was deteriorating due to the weathering process. We discussed that this was probably Duffy's best work and there was a need to preserve it, " Maynard Hogberg, Professor Emeritus of Animal Science at Iowa State University told The Chronicle last week in an email.

The original sculpture stands at the top of the hill behind the Big T Maid Rite on Dupont-Pioneer property at the Business Highway 30 and U.S. 63 junction in Toledo. The late Norma Lyon is the famed Butter Cow artist for 46 years at the Iowa State Fair. It is of fiberglass material.

Article Photos

From its hilltop the work of the late Norma Lyon (the State Fair Butter?Cow Lady) has stood since 1991 overlooking the the U.S. 63 and Business Highway 30 junction in Toledo. That won’t change, but the sculpture will be gone for a bit as it is being “borrowed” to create another by Iowa State University.
Chronicle/John Speer

The duplication of the work is not intended, at least initially, to replace the Toledo sculpture.

Terry Lyon, rural Toledo, Norma's daughter-in-law, told The Chronicle if all goes according to plan a mold of the Toledo Cow Calf will be made and the bronze Cow-Calf sculpture will then be cast.

"Our plan, based on the wishes of the Lyon family, is to place the cow-calf sculpture at the Iowa State University Dairy Farm which is where the bronze Jersey Jewel sculpture is located," Hogberg wrote. According to Hogberg the Jersey Jewel was Norma's last completed work.

"We are starting a fund drive now to gather the necessary funds to do the first pour," Hogberg said.


While the city has no direct involvement, at least yet in the new sculpture, it is the apparent "owner" of the Cow Calf sculpture. The August 27, 1991, issue of The Chronicle reported on the dedication of the completed work: "The City of Toledo was thanked for their agreement to accept the completed work and accept responsibility for insurance." The then-in-existence Arts Council of Tama-Toledo led the effort to have "Norma Lyon's dream" to have "the newborn calf and fresh cow" exhibited here.

Now, Toledo City Council members agreed during their regular June 25 meeting, to allow the sculpture to be temporarily removed and transported to the city of Rock Tavern, New York, where a mold will be made. Estimated mold cost- $22,320. Then the duplicate sculpture will be cast - estimated cost $65,566.

The original will then be returned again to its Toledo location.

"Our hope is that sufficient interest in the town of Toledo exists so that a second bronze sculpture can be poured and placed back on the hill in Toledo," Hogberg told The Chronicle in his email. "This would be a permanent piece of art and not subjected to weathering. We will be working with the dairy industry as well as graduates of Iowa State University's dairy program for raising the needed funds."



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