Babe the Blue Ox and Paul Bunyan

Minnesota has several Babe-and-Paul statues, and I’ve found two so far. Back near my hometown in Northern California, we have a huge one too. Here’s a comparison of Pauls and Babes in Minnesota and California.

Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox in Bemidji, Minnesota

I think that Babe has the best expression of any of them. Close ups of the two North Woods stars:

And his trusty steed:

Babe the Blue Ox in Bemidji, Minnesota

Note that Brainerd, Minnesota has a  health-conscious Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox at a bowling alley. When I last saw it Babe conscientiously advertised a smoke-free bowling area. He is also eating bowling pins the size of small children.

Paul Bunyan and Babe in Brainerd, Minnesota.

The Brainerd statues are smaller than the Bemidji ones, so if you’re going for maximum Babe in Minnesota, head to Bemidji.

But out west – where the Paul Bunyan story traveled with the timber fellers who had finished denuding the Upper Midwest and now set their sights on the redwood forests of California – there’s an even BIGGER Paul and Babe. This is appropriate, as the trees are bigger, too. In many cases, the lumberjacks who felled the old growth redwood forests of California and Oregon were the same people who had felled the old growth hardwood forests of Minnesota and Wisconsin, and local histories in Humboldt County, California, often show that people migrated from one region to the other, finally settling in California because there was nowhere else to go. This Paul and Babe, who can be found at the Trees of Mystery attraction near Klamath, will even talk to you. This pic really demonstrates the size. Travelers can walk up to the statues and have entire conversations with Paul. That’s right, Paul talks, really talks, and he will answer your questions most days during the summer, and some other times too.  And if you’re at the Trees of Mystery, don’t miss their other unique attraction – a ride in a gondola through the canopy of an old growth redwood forest. Well worth it.

So I guess you could say Paul and Babe started out in the forests of the upper midwest and retired to California. Who can blame them. Winter’s aren’t warm out in the redwood forests, but they’re generally above freezing. Perhaps in the future Paul and Babe will travel to San Diego and buy some beachfront property. Then we’ll have Paul and Babe lounging in beach chairs.

  • Susan Brainerd McNerney

    As both a Brainerd and a McNerney who has in fact visited Brainerd Minnesota I was blown away when I saw this site. Write on Susan!