Not many of you were around 70 years ago when Grady the cow got stuck inside a silo on the Mach farm.
This was a “really big deal” back then and even made international news.
You can read all about the true tale of Grady the cow in a story I penned for today’s front page. Thanks to Yukon author Una Belle Townsend, who wrote a children’s book in 2003 about Grady the cow, for helping me gather details and pictures.
I researched several articles that have been published over the years about the six-year-old, 1,200-pound female Hereford cow who got stuck for five days in a 17-inch by 25-1/2-inch silo door while giving birth on Feb. 22, 1949.
Well, the 70th anniversary of Grady getting stuck in that silo arrives this Friday!
It took the farm editor of The Denver Post to help come up with a solution on how to free Grady from the silo. A lot of grease was required to safely get Grady out, relatively unscathed!
Bill and Alyne Mach certainly did not want to lose either their beloved cow or valuable silo. They were willing to wait to find the best solution after many suggestions came via phone call and telegram from across the U.S. and even overseas.
Grady the cow became a local celebrity and the Mach farm silo was a tourist attraction for years after her ordeal and subsequent rescue. She went on to live 12 more years before dying of old age in July 1961.
I became familiar with the story of Grady the cow in the early 1990s after graduating college in Oklahoma City and moving to Yukon to start my journalism career. On a cold late December day in 1996, I recall heading out southwest of Highway 92 (now Garth Brooks Boulevard) and Interstate 40 when that infamous silo was torn down.
I took a photo that appeared on the front page of the Jan. 1, 1997 newspaper edition next to a story headlined “Grady the Cow’s silo demolished”. (The article was written by a great writer, Susan Toth, who left the news business to work for casinos in fabulous Las Vegas, Nev.)
Most of you have driven around or on that former silo site over the past couple decades.
1997 was the year that property south of I-40 along Highway 92 started to be cleared for future commercial development.
It’s hard for us to imagine now that all those acres had been just farmland for so many decades.
Integris Canadian Valley Hospital was built starting later that year where Grady’s silo had stood for years.
Across the street, the Jane and Milton Shedeck family farm had been sold to make way for a new Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse.
The hospital and Lowe’s were the first of many new businesses and health care facilities that now occupy that part of Yukon between I-40 and N.W. 10th along Garth Brooks Boulevard.
Yukon now has many physician’s offices, a wide range of restaurants; large retailers like Target, Kohl’s, Staples, and PetsMart; a movie theater, and plenty of smaller retailers. Much more is coming on the west side of Garth Brooks Boulevard after construction starts on a new I-40 interchange at Frisco Road.
Those of you who were in Yukon in the early 1990s (before the city council approved the name “Garth Brooks Boulevard”) will remember that street was known by several names – Cemetery Road, Highway 92 and 11th Street.
Originally, the city council renamed the street as Garth Brooks Boulevard only between Main Street (Hwy 66) and I-40. A few years later, as the development south of I-40 started spreading, the council also renamed the mile between I-40 and N.W. 10th.
There is no sign post or statue marking the former site of Grady the cow’s silo on the Mach farm.
But the story of Grady has endured for 70 years now, and Una Belle Townsend loves sharing her book with school and library groups. My suggestion is that we all meet at another famous Grady’s (Grady Cross’ pub on Main Street) this Friday and raise a toast to Grady the cow.
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It was great seeing recently retired Yukon police officer Mitch Hoskins at the Feb. 5 city council meeting, where he received a 25-year service pin from the Oklahoma Municipal League. Mitch was a longtime Yukon police captain and major who I got to know over many years working for the local press.
Since he’s still young, Mitch is staying busy in “retirement” with a remodeling business. In fact, he built the new front desk in the entryway at the Yukon Community Center and recently has done remodeling work at YNB – Your Neighborhood Bank.
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Have you gotten your tickets to the Yukon High School musical production of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid”?
Please make plans to come see some talented YHS students led by producer Darin Chapin. There will be three performances, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 28 through March 2 at the Yukon Fine Arts Center, 850 Yukon Ave.
You can save $2 per ticket by buying online at http://www.yukonps.com; search “Yukon HS Choir” or “Yukon Fine Arts Center.” Stay tuned for more details!