MOUNT PLEASANT, TX (KLTV) - An iconic East Texas landmark is now gone.
For decades, a giant statue of the head of Bo Pilgrim decorated the front lawn of Pilgrim’s Pride Industries.
The 37 foot bust OF Pilgrim had become familiar to thousands of East Texans along Highway 271 between Pittsburg and Mount Pleasant, but seeing an empty space was a shock to some.
“I was thinking, what in the world? I think its just going to look incomplete when you drive past there, without the giant Pilgrim’s head,” says Jo’s Downtown employee Brooke Irwin.
Pilgrim's Pride announced that, at the request of the family, the bust was removed and returned to the Pilgrim family.
"I think I understand. It's probably sentimental to them," Irwin says.
For decades the iconic likeness of Bo Pilgrim had become a landmark here along highway 271. Pilgrim was the man who personified rags to riches.
In a rare 2008 interview, Lonnie ‘Bo’ Pilgrim told us how he grew up during the depression and learned the value of hard work, creating an industry giant. The bust came to symbolize his story.
“It might be missed, but I do understand the family wanting to have an heirloom or a memorial piece back with them no matter where they put it,” says Mount Pleasant business owner Shea Taylor.
The bronze statue depicting Bo and his pet chicken, Henrietta, once situated below the giant bust, will now be on permanent display at the Pilgrim bank in Mount Pleasant.
"It's just something people notice, every time the drive on 271," says Irwin.
Bo Pilgrim died in 2017.
It’s unknown how or where the iconic bust will be kept by his family.