It turns out the Paul Bunyan statue in Bemidji likely suffered its broken arm because people were climbing and hanging on the historic statue.
Earlier this week, Bemidji Mayor Jorge Prince shared the news of Paul's broken arm on Facebook, saying the concrete statue's arm is being held together by the rebar that runs through it and there are plans to get it fixed.
"Paul, throughout his history in Paul Bunyan Park has been interactive with many visitors standing close, holding his leg, and hand. Paul has withstood the years in the park," the Bemidji Parks and Recreation Department said in a post on the police department's Facebook page Wednesday.
"Unfortunately, in this case, the cause of the failure/breakage appears to have been caused by several people climbing and hanging off of Paul’s arm and the adjacent sign."
Paul and Babe the Blue Ox have been in Paul Bunyan Plaza since 1937 and the park department has discouraged climbing on the statues because it could cause damage.
Related [May 4]: Bemidji's historic Paul Bunyan statute suffers separated arm
"Our priority remains to repair Paul as quickly as possible. This spring the city hired Jensen Conservation to complete conservation work on Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. Jensen Conservation has changed their schedule and plans be to onsite by next week to assess and fix the damage to Paul and conduct the additional conservation work planned for Paul and Babe." the park department said.
The plaza does have security cameras (they were installed a few years ago) and the Bemidji Police Department is investigating the incident that led to Paul's broken arm.
If anyone has any information about the damage to Paul, it can be reported anonymously to Crime Stoppers of Minnesota online here or by calling 1-800-222-8477.
Paul and Babe stand tall on the shores of Lake Bemidji outside the Bemidji Tourist Information Center at 300 Bemidji Ave.
Paul, who stands 18 feet tall, and Babe were built in 1937, with construction taking 737 hours. They were unveiled as part of a promotion for the winter carnival to recognize the area's logging history, Visit Bemidji says.
The statues are on the National Register of Historic Places, and, according to Visit Bemidji, Eastman Kodak recognized Paul and Babe as the second-most photographed icon in the nation.
To this day, thousands of visitors come to see and take selfies with Paul and his blue ox.