Thursday, April 7, 2011
I got you, Babe: Bemidji, Minnesota's Paul Bunyan statue
Even though Paul Bunyan, the world's most famous giant lumberjack, has French-Canadian roots and dates back to 1837, many states in the northern USA lay claim to him as their favorite son, and luckily for the eccentric roadside attraction fan, many of these adopted hometowns have giant statues for all the world to see.
Bemidji, Minnesota is a beautiful lake community ("The first city on the Mississippi," they proudly boast) where Paul Bunyan Park features a glorious 18-foot statue of Paul and his big blue ox Babe as goodwill ambassadors to all passersby. The statues were erected in 1937 and Bemidji's mayor at the time, a Mr. Earl Bucklen, served as the model for Paul. Lots of people like to have their picture taken with Paul and Babe, including Scooter Christensen of the Harlem Globetrotters, the Mens and Womens 2006 Olympic Curling teams, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, Bemidji State University mascot Bucky the Beaver, and the Lincoln Elementary Kindergarten Class, who were learning about the letter "P". And who can blame them?
Paul and Babe are awesome examples of what makes America great: borrowing someone else's cool thing and making it even cooler. What could be better, I ax you.