Paul Bunyan & Babe the Blue Ox Statues, Bemidji

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Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox are the names of a pair of large statues of the American folk hero Paul Bunyan and his ox, located in Bemidji, Minnesota. This roadside attraction has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1988. Much like the architecture found in such structures as the Benewah Milk Bottle, the Teapot Dome Service Station or the comparably colossal Dinosaur Park sculptures in South Dakota, it served to attract the attention of motorists passing by and coincided with the dramatic rise in the popularity of automobiles.The statues have been hailed by the Kodak Company as the "second most photographed statues in the United States", behind only Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.HistoryThe city of Bemidji is located in a vast woodland and lake region. As early as the 1890s the town saw a modest tourist trade. When rail connections came to Bemidji, in 1898, promoters began the development of lakeshore sites for cottages, hotels and resorts. Most of these resorts catered to hunters and anglers. In the 1920s the rise in automobile popularity contributed to a significant boom in Bemidji's tourist industry, but it, along with the rest of the economy, suffered during the Great Depression. Enter Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox.As a means of stimulating tourism in Bemidji a number of local, civic organizations sponsored a winter carnival meant to hype the city's resources for winter sports. Due to Bemidji's once prominent status as a logging and lumbering center the celebrations focused on Paul Bunyan, the larger-than life lumberjack who is an American folk hero. On January 14, 1937 the carnival opened with Earl L. Grinols, Sr. the carnival king. The onset of the carnival brought the unveiling of two giant statues, one of Bunyan and the other of his giant blue ox, Babe; the pair would serve as carnival mascots. Babe was brought into town on a Grinols Implement & Fuel Co. truck arranged so that its exhaust exited through Babe's nostrils.
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Paul Bunyan & Babe the Blue Ox Statues Reviews
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  • August 11, 2017
    Cool place to see. Visit Akeley also for the home of Paul himself. Check out Your Moms tattoos across the street  more »
  • August 10, 2017
    It's right by the lake, near downtown, and right by an information center. It's a great family picture and there is also an ice cream place nearby.  more »
  • August 9, 2017
    The iconic Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox has been a prominent part of Bemidji for decades. Stop and take a photo by these guys and then hop into the Visitor Center to learn more about things to do ...  more »
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  • June 29, 2017
    That's a HUGE dude! Been hangin with Paul and Babe for over half a century. Used to be a wonderful amusement park here. You could rent little paddle boats and cruse the lake. Sadly all gone. The park is nice and the statues remain. Amazingly enough, Paul and Babe are the most photographed Folk Heroes on the planet. They even have a 24/7 web cam. They aren't the prettiest statues ever created but they are ours and we love them. They are Northern Minnesota Legend.
  • June 21, 2017
    Nice trails for biking and walking dogs. Lots of space to relax. Statues are neat.
  • July 4, 2017
    Very good, lots of things to see, great view of the lake! Just note that they close at 4 pm on Saturdays.
  • May 15, 2017
    Great historical land mark, been here as long as I can remember. I hope one day to bring my kids to see this.
  • May 9, 2017
    A familiar landmark, great for taking vacation pictures or for proving that you were in Bemidji, if you need that sort of thing.

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