In an Iowa cornfield, a tribute to Buddy Holly

Buddy Holly Crash Site

It’s been immortalized by Don McLean as “The Day the Music Died.”

On February 3, 1959, a 1947 Beechcraft Bonanza crash near Clear Lake, Iowa, killed three American rock and roll legends: Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, as well as the 21-year old pilot, Roger Peterson, as they were heading to their next gig in Moorhead, Minnesota.

In 1988, Ken Paquette, built a stainless steel monument with a steel guitar and three records, each bearing the names of each of the performers, and a pair of wings in honor of the pilot. The monument fairly easily access on private farmland, about one quarter of a mile west of the intersection of 315th Street and Gull Avenue, five miles north of Clear Lake. Look for the sculpture of Buddy Holly’s Wayfarer-style glasses, at the entry point to the crash site.

Paquette also created a similar stainless steel monument to the three musicians located outside the Riverside Ballroom in Green Bay, Wisconsin, where Holly, the Big Bopper and Valens played on the night of February 1, 1959. A road originating near The Surf Ballroom and extending north past the west of the crash site is now known as Buddy Holly Place.