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Brainerd, Minnesota: 1930s Paul Bunyan and Babe Statue (Gone)

Not giant, but reportedly built by a hobo artist in the 1930s in exchange for moonshine. Restored in 2007, moved in 2014.

Stood on the south side of Hwy 210/Washington St., just east of S. 6th St., next to the water tower.

Visitor Tips and News About 1930s Paul Bunyan and Babe Statue

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Paul Bunyan and Babe Statue

The Paul Bunyan and Babe Statue is no longer located at Hwy 201/Washington St., next to the water tower. The site is now under construction for a new business. We asked at a nearby commercial establishment, and we were told the statue had been moved to the new location of the Chamber of Commerce. We could not locate that location in the time we had available.

[E.W. Burdorff, 10/22/2014]

Paul Bunyan - Before and After.

Paul and Babe Statues - Renovated

These Paul and Babe statues stand by the Brainerd water tower. They were completely overhauled in August 2007. The original statue was created in 1936-37 for a local business promoting Paul Bunyan Days. The statue was created by a transient artist in exchange for moonshine.

The statue is made of wood, chicken wire, and a mix of plaster/cement. The years have taken their toll on the infrastructure, and it was rotting from the inside out (this is why the arm fell off). Many renovations were undertaken throughout the years to improve and preserve this statue. Most were temporary fixes and did not last more than a few months before cracking peeling and breaking off.

Josh Porter (Avalon Studios) was hired by the Brainerd Chamber of Commerce in 2007 to renovate the Paul and Babe statue. It took about one month to complete. The process involved stripping the paint layers away as well as any additions that were added throughout the years. Next step was rebuilding some of the infrastructure that was failing due to rot. After the structure was repaired, spray foam was used to fill in cavities and added to areas that needed more shaping. The entire statue was coated with an epoxy sculpting resin and finished with a new coat of paint.

The goal was not to create a brand new statue but to fix the existing one in such a way that it was presentable to the public while preserving most of the irregularities created by the original artist (proportions, etc).

The final paint finish was made to look older (not bright) to complement the age of the statue.

[Josh Porter, 07/14/2008]

Paul Bunyan statue.

Paul Bunyan and Babe Statue

Here is the Paul Bunyan and Babe statue, intact with his new and improved pine tree to help support his ever-waving (and reattached)arm. There is also a very flimsy chicken wire fence around Paul to deter anyone from getting too close, but obviously chicken wire isn't the best security system.

[Holly Diestler, 11/21/2006]
Paul Bunyan "Vandal" Amputation Traced to Hapless Photo Opportunist

The waving arm of an old Paul Bunyan on Washington Street, Brainerd, Minnesota, was wrenched off as a teen posed by "leaning" on it, police authorities confirmed. Locals first suspected vandals had torn the statue's arm off, and this story was repeated in the media -- but the errant photo opportunist had promptly driven to police HQ and confessed to the mishap.


[08/11/2002] Complete News Story

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