Bossy the Cow Gets Tipped on Milpas Street

Iconic Statue atop Restaurant near Santa Barbara High School Felled

[Update: Aug. 7, 1:40 p.m.] Santa Barbara High School teacher Brandon Teris wrote that he’d been last up on the restaurant roof in May to paint the names of graduating seniors on Bossy. He doubted anyone “tipped” the statue and thought it more likely due to natural causes. “The front leg was crippled,” Teris said. “Imagine all the weight from the DECADES of paint on a structure that was simply made of plaster. I believe that it ‘fell over’ due to the weight, & recent winds could be a contributing factor.”

Bossy the Cow, this year in May (left) and in her prime many decades ago

[Original Story ] Fiesta hijinks may have sunk to a new low with the toppling of the cow atop Bossie’s Kitchen, once home to McConnell’s Ice Cream, and before that the Live Oak Dairy back in 1937, when the plaster bovine was first placed at the apex of the Milpas Street building’s Streamline Moderne tower.

Many assume the internecine rivalry between Santa Barbara High and its secondary-school competitors might be responsible for the cow tipping. As is the custom among them, Bossy, as the cow was originally known, is often painted in various school colors. When the building was made an area landmark in 2018, the nominating papers include a description of Bossy once “costumed in a mask, sombrero, long stingy [sic] wig, and a flower trimmed poncho emblazoned with … ‘Dons ’67.'”

She now lies on her left side on the roof, wearing a green cloth face covering placed there earlier as a reminder for all to stay safe and wear a mask.


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SBHS alum Mark Alvarado, who was one of the first to see the tipped cow, noticed that the rebar that had anchored the cow was sticking out of the rooftop: “It looks like they killed it,” he said, speculating that it must have been a loud and noisy operation. This seemed more than the usual friendly rivalry between schools, he thought, which had generally involved painting “San Marcos” on the cow and a palette of scarlet and royal blue, or green and gold.

Bossy the cow, tipped over

Christina Olufson had been baking bread in Bossie’s when she noticed a small crowd gathered this morning, staring at her restaurant’s roofline. She assumed they were admiring the cow, but when she went out to greet them, they asked, “Did you know the cow is tipped?” Olufson said her landlord was going to get up there and check it out.

Police spokesperson Anthony Wagner said no report had been made to the department about the cow to his knowledge. Tips can be sent to tips@independent.com.


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