A suggestion. If you find yourself near Plainsboro, NJ, stop by the original Elsie the Cow’s tombstone for a reflective moment. If you can find it.

The Borden Dairy Company created the advertising icon Elsie the Cow in the 1930’s. At the 1939 New York World’s Fair, Borden displayed a futuristic milking machine using live cows for the demonstration. Although Elsie is a cartoon, visitors kept asking which one of the live cows at the exhibit was Elsie. Borden, ready to milk the public’s interest in Elsie, picked You’ll Do Lobelia, a good-natured cow, to be the first incarnation of Elsie. She became a star, touring the country in a custom made “cowdallac”. In 1941, on their way to Schubert Alley, the truck was hit from behind. Poor Elsie/Lobelia sustained injuries so serious the vets decided it was best to put her down. She was buried on the Walker-Gordon Farm in Plainsboro. Over the years the area was developed and the tombstone moved.

Tombstone of Elsie the Cow

Before Joe Camel, before the Energizer Bunny, there was Elsie. Elsie was the spokesanimal for Borden Milk, and she became a real cow in 1939

Tourists and even the locals don’t take much interest in the original Elsie’s eternal resting place.

You'll Do Lobelia (Elsie) tombstone

“You’ll Do Lobelia” was the first Elsie, the one whose friendliness and big brown eyes had won the hearts of millions — even if they couldn’t tell her from the cow that had taken her place. Years passed into decades, the Walker-Gordon Dairy Farm went out of business, and in June 1999 “Elsie’s” headstone was moved further west on Plainsboro Rd. A little gazebo was built next to it, ideal for wedding vows. A plaque was added to the site, praising Elsie as “a celebrated advertising trademark” and claiming that this was her burial site, even though it isn’t exactly (Nor, for that matter, was the headstone’s former location.).

The true grave is lost under a landscape crowded with hundreds of “townhomes” — land that once was Elsie’s dairy.


Grover’s Mills, a town a few miles away, gets a lot more attention. Grover’s Mills is ground zero ​in Orson Well’s War of the Worlds.

Martian Landing Site

Maybe Plainsboro would have taken more pride if Elsie jumped over the moon.

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4 Comments | Leave a comment
  1. kmsimchak says:

    Great Cow story! RIP Elsie/You’ll Do Lobelia

  2. cactuswren says:

    Boy, does this bring back memories! My Uncle, when he retired from the Air Force, moved to Lubbuck, Texas and was a delivery driver for Borden’s! He had the white uniform, cap, milk truck, and all kinds of Elsie “stuff”. That was when they were still doing home delivery with the glass bottles. Fond memories. Thanks Pat_S! : )

  3. sweetexp says:

    Hello Tams.

    I think that it was fantastic that Tammy was engaging in discussion of the Masai Warriors! I have studied them pretty extensively along with other “warrior” cultures during some of my more arts related study… Just another example of how extremely well cultured and educated our wonderful host T. Bruce truly is.

    Sweet eee-echs-pee

  4. candace52 says:

    My mother’s father started as a milkman for Borden’s and later on was a Borden’s executive. My sister probably saw the Elsie at the 39 World’s Fair(she was 4 at the time).
    Elsie the Cow was always important to me. I’m a cow-lover because of Elsie!
    Thanks Pat S!

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