Bemidji Bunyan and Babe the Ox.

Boxy Bunyan and Babe Statues

Field review by the editors.

Bemidji, Minnesota

Bemidji is the hometown of bustin' out 1940s actress Jane Russell, but to most vacationers it's better known for its postcard-perfect Paul Bunyan and Babe statues. Bemidji has possibly the oldest shrine to the legendary lumberjack in this Bunyan-thick land.

Overly broad-shouldered and boxy, the 18-foot tall, 2.5-ton Paul was built in January 1937 by sun-starved Bemidjians. Companion Babe the Blue Ox, once on wheels, was trucked around to Minnesota carnivals for a few years before joining Paul permanently in 1939.

The spot where they congregate on the shore of Lake Bemidji is said -- by the Chamber of Commerce, anyway -- to be Paul Bunyan's birthplace. The adjacent C of C building features a collection of Bunyan stuff -- Paul's titanic boxer shorts, flyswatter, toothbrush, dice, playing cards, belt, chocolate bar, lighter -- pretty much any slightly over-scale thing the C of C could think of.

Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox.

Shutterbug Alert: Bunyan and Babe, facing west, are best shot in afternoon light. The bulky statue is often dressed in sweaters and funny hats in the winter, but do you really want to drive to northern Minnesota in the winter?

Update: In 2014 the Bemidji city council ruled that Paul could no longer be dressed up, fearful that they might be forced to allow him to wear something they didn't like.

Boxy Bunyan and Babe Statues

Bemidji Visitors and Convention Bureau

Address:
300 Bemidji Ave., Bemidji, MN
Directions:
Bemidji Visitors and Convention Bureau. Between Hwy 197/Bemidji Ave./Paul Bunyan Drive and the south shore of Lake Bemidji.
Phone:
218-759-0164
RA Rates:
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