Who or what is Rocky?
From the May 1956 issue of "Modern Railroads" magazine, page 32:
"Rocky" - The Great Northern Goat
How he found his way into a famous trademark
"Rocky" isn't really a goat. He's actually a member of the antelope family which haunts the Rocky Mountains in Montana's Glacier National Park. This animal is called a Rocky Mountain goat, although the reason is obscure - perhaps because of his bewhiskered resemblance to the domestic billy goat.
Though "Rocky," or at least his ancestors, had been leaping gymnastically from peak to pinnacle for many years in Glacier Park, no one thought of him as a part of a railroad emblem. That is, not until one day in 1921. On this day, fame came to "Rocky." The late W.P. Kenney, then Vice President and later President of the Great Northern, had an inspiration. He hurried in to tell GN's President, Louis W. Hill Sr. about it. Mr. Hill, son of James J. Hill, GN's founder, had been prominently identified with the establishment of Glacier National Park and its promotion as an important tourist attraction and one of the scenic high spots of the railroad. It was he who coined such slogans for the GN as "See America First" and "The National Park Route."
Since other railroads went to other national parks, this phrase was ultimately changed to "Glacier National Park," in GN's trademark. It was not too long after this that "Veep" Kenney received his inspiration from the Rocky Mountain goats because of the prevalence of the animal in the Glacier region.
His idea was enthusiastically received, and "Rocky" became identified with Great Northern, although the goat in the insigne was unnamed until 1955. The railroad's Public Relations-Advertising Department came up with "Rocky" for identification of the animated goat in GN's television advertising. The monogram was changed from rectangular to a circular shape with "Rocky" facing the viewer. From time to time, "Rocky's" portrait was altered slightly in the interest of his dignity. In 1936, however, an artist made an entirely new portrait of him. This time his silhouette replaced the full-faced version, and he was shown standing majestically upon the peaks so dear to him and to the Great Northern.
Since 1936, few changes have been made in a trademark that is justly famous...justly representative of a great railroad.