Dubbed by Lonnie “Bo” Pilgrim and his wife as “Chateau de Pilgrim” — but known by East Texans as “Cluckingham Palace” — the sprawling estate in Pittsburg can now be yours.
The roughly 18,000-square-foot estate on 43 acres built by the late chicken magnate is being auctioned. Bidding is set Oct. 15 to 18 by Concierge Auctions at its website, ConciergeAuctions.com.
“This estate was custom-built to my father’s exact specifications with superior materials and craftsmanship, and our family has enjoyed it for many years,” Ken Pilgrim said in a statement issued by the auction house.
The estate has six bedrooms and 10 full and one-half bathrooms. Ornate in design and stature, architectural features include a glass elevator overlooking spacious grounds, European-made gas fireplaces, French front doors and a large indoor pool with wet and dry sauna, according to the auction house. The property features manicured grounds throughout, three ponds, Azalea gardens, a greenhouse and three outbuildings.
More than $15 million has been invested in the property, according to the auction house, and it will go to the highest bidder with no reserve.
Pilgrim’s Pride was founded in Pittsburg by Pilgrim and his brother, Aubrey Pilgrim, more than 70 years ago. What began as a tiny feed and seed store grew into one of the biggest chicken producers in the country. Bo Pilgrim put himself in its immediately recognizable logo, complete with his trademark buckled pilgrim’s hat.
He founded the Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., which provided employment for thousands in East Texas and elsewhere. At its peak, the Pittsburg company had operations in 17 states and Mexico, more than 35,000 employees and thousands of trucks. And Bo Pilgrim became well known as its face and voice in television and radio commercials.
Bo Pilgrim died in July 2017 at age 89. He sold the international poultry operation to Brazilian beef company JBS in 2009, and its headquarters was moved to Greeley, Colorado.
The estate where he and his wife lived can still be seen from U.S. 271 south of Pittsburg on a road called Greer Boulevard in town. It’s not far from where a 37-foot-tall statue of Bo Pilgrim stood outside Pilgrim’s Pride until it was taken down in March.
The “Bo Head,” and a bronze statue of Bo Pilgrim seated on a bench below the iconic hat-festooned head and reading the Bible to a bronze Henrietta the Chicken, have been moved until a more permanent spot is found.
It’s not clear if the auction winner will use the estate as a residence. The auction house suggests in its statement that the estate has potential as a wellness or rehabilitation center.