Monument raised to memory of well-known goat in West Virginia

Monument raised to memory of well-known goat in West Virginia
The Powell Mountain goat once grazed the cliffs along US-19. (Photo courtesy Anne Johnson)

MUDDELTY, W.Va. — Anonymous benefactors have raised a monument to a goat that once garnered national attention as it grazed the summit of Powell Mountain along the US-19 expressway.


At some point in the last few days, a white silhouette of the goat was installed on the cliffs along the expressway, according to Anne Johnson, an educator and photographer who came to admire the goat during regular trips across the mountain.

A monument to a goat that roamed Powell Mountain has been anonymously installed. (Photo courtesy Anne Johnson)

During the 16 years that it grazed the high cliffs along the expressway where its white shape was conspicuous, Johnson and other admirers photographed the animal and spread word of its existence.

Johnson said Monday that a monument had been raised to the goat by yet-unknown admirers, though she's not determined who might be involved.


"I've tried to find out but never did. I think they want to be anonymous," she said. "I have my suspicions of who could be, but they won't fess up."

In 2019, that the goat had been captured and removed to a farm or that it had been killed in a vehicle collision. Still, officials with the Department of Highways would have been aware of such an event, and no leads ever confirmed its capture.

Johnson combed the hillsides above the cliffs but found no sign of the goat. In the end, she said, the lifespan of a solitary goat is usually no more than a decade, and the goat had lived long beyond that while weathering winters in one of the highest peaks in the region.

The monument is the second to appear on the mountain. A first was installed and disappeared the year after the goat's disappearance.


"I think we all must remember what she gave us, what she taught us—to be strong and persevere, to love and care for one another," Johnson said.

"Everyone is thrilled. A piece of her is back. This helped us all cope with her loss; everyone was saddened when the cutout disappeared."

Powell Mountain is located north of Summersville, West Virginia, and the New River Gorge National and Preserve in central West Virginia.

Origin of name "Polemic Run" may arguably remain a mystery

Polemic Run Road leads off the US-19.

Each day more than 10,000 motorists pass the turn-off onto Polemic Run Road in central West Virginia, but few leave the US-19 expressway and wander into the wooded hills to the west. If your car handles well on the backroads, the hour's journey off the beaten path in southern Braxton County is well worth the trip, no matter the season.


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