Paul & Babe

Big as a mountain and strong as a grizzly bear… that’s how the folks here describe the local folk hero Paul Bunyan. As legend goes, the birthplace of the greatest lumberjack to swagger through the North American forests is claimed by Bemidji, Minnesota, a distinction fondly marked with a statue built along the shore of Lake Bemidji in honor of the town’s most famous son. Today the statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox are historically recognized as Minnesota’s first and best-known example of “roadside colossus,” with Bemidji honored as “pioneers” in promoting tourism in northern Minnesota.

Learn more about this noted accomplishment, and the legendary stories of Paul and Babe.

Where Paul Bunyan Was Born
Building the Legend
The Tall Paul Tales
2nd Most Photographed Icon

The Legend of Paul & Babe

Where Paul Bunyan Was Born

The Smithsonian Channel takes a video look at the birthplace of folk hero Paul Bunyan and his trusty ox Babe in Bemidji, Minnesota – a town that’s still proud of its lumberjack roots. Published on Jul 2, 2013

View Video “Where Paul Bunyan Was Born”

Smithsonian Channel

The Legend of Paul & Babe

Building the Legend

As some stories go, the idea of building a giant statue of the town’s lumberjack son was conceived over sharing a pint (or two). 737 man hours, and 2.5 tons later, a national tourism legend was proudly born. After more than 50 years of towering Lake Bemidji, the statues were officially honored by the National Parks Service as a cultural resource worthy of preservation, adding them to the National Register of Historic Places. Today, the statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox are recognized as the second most photographed roadside attraction in the nation.

For more on the history of the statues

Photos courtesy of the Beltrami County Historical Society and LakesnWoods.com

The Legend of Paul & Babe

The Tall Paul Tales

True to their Bemidji roots, this larger than life duo were known to work hard and play harder! Evidence of the legendary adventures of Paul Bunyan and Babe are found throughout the community and region. Some of these tall tales, still favored stories around northwood campfires, are shared here.

Click here for tales and videos

Nicholaus Jackson Astound

The Legend of Paul & Babe

2nd Most Photographed Icon

Built in 1937, Eastman Kodak recognized Paul Bunyan and his Blue Ox Babe that stand along the shore of Lake Bemidji near the Tourist Information Center as the second most photographed icon in the nation. To this day, thousands of visitors come to see and be photographed with the legendary Paul and Babe.

Some favored photos

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