Cows, Colleges, and Contentment

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Around 1914, Northfield decided upon the official town motto of "Cows, Colleges and Contentment." The phrase has been associated with the town ever since, and is currently displayed on roadside signs. The phrase has also been borrowed by some Carleton and St. Olaf publicity materials.

The "cows" refers to the large population of Holstein dairy cattle present in the area for many years (including the prize-winning Carleton dairy herd). The "colleges" are, of course, Carleton and St. Olaf. The "contentment" comes and goes...

For instance, sometime in the 1970s, the motto was changed to "Northfield: A Special Place." A low key campaign by leading citizens in the 1980s restored the old motto.

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