Chicago had colorful cows grazing on the sidewalks. In Nashville, strange and wonderful catfish swam the streets. Saratoga Springs chose painted horses. And in McAlester? What better town mascot than the buffalo?
The 36 bronze buffalo statues found around town are the brainchild of local businessman Bob Wallace, who in 2010 concluded that McAlester could use a little community pride. He set about buying statues and installed them in front of schools and in other public spots.
Eventually, there were 36 statues in various locations around McAlester, and an icon was born.
While most citizens welcomed the new livestock, some liked them more than others. In 2011, the statue in front of Emerson Elementary School disappeared from its concrete pad one night. Fortunately, it was later discovered in the closet of a young man who confessed he had made off with the cherished statue he had named Henry.