Pettibone PagodaHenry Luehr (1920 - 1995)


Non Extant


Turtle Lake, North Dakota, 58575, United States

About the Artist/Site

The Pettibone Pagoda fell to a windstorm on June 27, 1999, bringing North Dakotan cattle rancher Henry Leuhr’s masterwork crumbling into a field. Leuhr spent three years acquiring the necessary lumber and equipment needed to transform the 82 ft. tall former grain elevator into the seven-story structure, using the excess materials to create a monumental polled Hereford cow sculpture adjacent to the tower. Visitors to the site recount the eccentric decor, each of the floors unique in their theming. Rooms were filled with various objects, from books and flooring tiles to bowling balls and roller skates. 

After Leuhr passed away in 1996, both the pagoda and cow began to fall into disrepair. Tornado winds finally destroyed the pagoda four years after its creator’s death, while the cow sculpture prevailed until 2007, when after years of deterioration and a relocation to a bar in Buchanan, North Dakota, the bull was set on fire, according to local news station KFYRtv. While Leuhr’s creations no longer remain, the memory of the pagoda in the prairie has since captivated the imagination of those who come across its story.  The Pettibone Pagoda has been featured in an edition of Ripley’s Believe It or Not, as well as travel books such as “Dakota Day Trips” by author Cliff Naylor. 

~Nikki Ranney, 2023 


Pettibone Pagoda | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Another batch of 'Ripley's Believe It or Not' features involving North Dakota - InForum | Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo news, weather and sports

Off the Beaten Path: Return Trip – Pettibone pagoda (


Map & Site Information

Turtle Lake, North Dakota, 58575 us
Latitude/Longitude: 47.519998 / -100.8901427

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