The iconic Bossie the cow has fallen from atop the Bossie’s Kitchen restaurant building on North Milpas Street in Santa Barbara.
The iconic Bossie the cow has fallen from atop the Bossie’s Kitchen restaurant building on North Milpas Street in Santa Barbara. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

Every cow has her day. For Bossie, the slaughter came before the sun rose Friday morning. 

Bossie, the beloved spotted white-and-black cow that has lived atop the Bossie’s Kitchen restaurant building at the corner of Milpas and Canon Perdido streets in Santa Barbara for more than 80 years, mysteriously fell over, snapped from her base and crumbled into several parts.

No one knows whether the cow was tipped by some prankster goofs, like a cow in an Ohio pasture in the middle of the night, or whether she fell over spontaneously, a victim of her own age and fatigue of standing while sleeping for so many years.

The Santa Barbara Police Department took no report of vandalism, but Mayor Cathy Murillo told Noozhawk late Friday that the property owner intended to file a vandalism report with the police.

What is clear is that Bossie is going to need a miracle to rise again.

“Bossie cannot be resurrected,” restaurant co-owner Christina Olufsun said. “She is in a million pieces.”

Olufson said she hopes Bossie hasn’t permanently expired. 

“We would like to see a new Bossie up there,” she said.

Olufson noticed the damaged cow about 9 a.m., she said. All day, a herd of people gathered, pointing, hemming and hawing, and taking pictures of the cow.

Bossie has seen better days. She was once the mascot for McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream, which produced the dairy dessert for decades inside the building at 901 Milpas St.

The building was originally designed and constructed to house the Live Oak Dairy in 1939. As an homage to the cows that were pastured in nearby Montecito to provide fresh milk and cream to local residents, the owners of Live Oak Dairy paid $1,000 to sculptor Alfred Kuhn for the plaster cow, according to the McConnell’s blog. They placed her on the rooftop above the corner entrance, and she became known as old “Bossie.”

Like the Arlington needle, the courthouse clocktower, and the dolphin fountain at the foot of Stearns Wharf, Bossie earned her place in Santa Barbara lore.

Students from nearby Santa Barbara High School would frequently paint her gold. According to the McConnell’s blog, in 1965, Santa Barbara awoke to find Bossie in a flower-trimmed poncho and sombrero, emblazoned with the SBHS team name “Dons ’67.”

And if every cat has nine lives, Bossie, too, has some resiliency in her genes.

In 1971, Bossie’s head was cut off with a ripsaw, according to the blog. She was repaired and mounted again on the roof, where she has stood tall with a view of the mountains and the sound of thousands of concerts at the Santa Barbara Bowl.

Santa Barbara High School graduate Kristen Sneddon, now a teacher at Santa Barbara City College and a member of the City Council, said she was devastated by the news.

“Oh no, Bossie!” Sneddon said to Noozhawk. “Bossie is really symbolic to anyone who went to Santa Barbara High and anyone in the community. We want to see her rise again.”

Sneddon said she hopes the toppled cow might steer people to action.

“It would be great for the community to come together and help bring Bossie back,” Sneddon said. 

Mayor Murillo, too, said the cow is more than just a plaster statue.

“I usually glance at it when I’m driving through that area, and it means a lot to not just Eastside residents, but everyone in Santa Barbara,” she said. “She is our mascot of sorts.”

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Joshua Molina

Joshua Molina, Noozhawk Staff Writer

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at