Hey, Babe! Maine competition for Paul Bunyan's sidekick statue supremacy


A Paul Bunyan-sized battle may be brewing over bragging rights to the best statue immortalizing the behemoth lumberjack's sidekick, Babe the Blue Ox.

The Bemidji Pioneer reports the that Bangor, Maine is contemplating adding a Babe statue to accompany its 56-year-old statue of Paul Bunyan. Bemidji's legendary lumberjack is 20 years older than Maine's PB, but the Bangor statue, at 31 feet, is taller is than Bemidji’s 18-foot Paul.

The Bemidji newspaper noted that Bemidji now holds "an obvious advantage" in evaluating the best Paul Bunyan statue, because there is no Babe in Bangor, which, like Bemidji, claims to be Paul's birthplace.

But that may be changing. The Bangor Daily News reported that on Thursday, the city commission was presented with a model of a potential statue of Babe to be constructed to stand alongside his master. The model was presented by sculptor J. Normand Martin, 80, the artist who designed Bangor's Paul Bunyan.

If constructed, Babe would measure approximately 20 feet in length, according to Martin. His Babe model is muscular, with a lowered head and an expression of rage.

Bemidji Mayor Rita Albrecht told her hometown paper that the belligerent Bangor Babe has a different personality than the one that greets visitors in northern Minnesota.

“Their Babe is… sort of menacing-looking, when we think of Babe as a pretty happy and carefree and friendly kind of fellow,” she said. “Kids want to pet him, they want to get right up there to his nose, and I think (the Bemidji ) Babe is a very friendly looking Babe.”

What's the deal with Babe, anyway? According to the website AmericanFolklore, Paul Bunyan found the little ox during the winter of blue snow and made a pet of him. (Yes, him.) The legend says that Babe "...grew so big that 42 axe handles plus a plug of tobacco could fit between his eyes," and that the massive creature was Paul's tireless helper in hauling loads of lumber through the north woods.

Bemidji is in the process of spiffing up Paul's digs, with renovations planned this summer for Paul Bunyan Park.

The Brainerd area has its own Bunyan claim. Several generations recall being greeted by name by the 26-foot tall Paul Bunyan statue, which was moved from its original spot to the Paul Bunyan Land Park a few years ago.

Next Up

Northern Metals

Firefighters battling large blaze at Northern Metal site in Minneapolis

The fire sent a plume of thick smoke into the skyline.

Screen Shot 2021-04-21 at 12.10.00 PM

Charges: St. Cloud woman maced, fatally stabbed man in alley

A 36-year-old man was pronounced dead at St. Cloud Hospital 32 minutes after the 911 call was made.


Gasthof's building in Northeast Minneapolis is for sale

The restaurant opened in 1992 and has been closed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.


1 dead in single-vehicle crash in Kandiyohi County

Deaths on Minnesota roads are up approximately 20% from the same point last year.

Irwin Jacobs home

Neighbor sues to block estate from dividing billionaire's Lake Minnetonka property

The estate of Irwin Jacobs wants to build six new homes on the late businessman's property.


In the better burger battle, does Culver's trump In-N-Out?

A website says Culver's is far superior to In-N-Out.

George Floyd mural

Darnella Frazier, who filmed the video of Floyd's arrest, reacts to guilty verdict

Frazier's video challenged the initial narrative of Floyd's arrest presented by the Minneapolis Police Department.

Burnsville police shooting

Man fatally shot by police near I-35W in Burnsville is identified

The suspect killed in the incident is from western Wisconsin.

covid, vaccine

Mayo Clinic opens vaccine appointments to non-patients

After a rush for appointments, other vaccine providers are also reporting more open appointments.


Brainerd to unveil restored Paul Bunyan statue Monday

Paul Bunyan is getting ready to reveal his facelift to fans at the Brainerd Lakes Area Welcome Center. The statue of the legendary lumberjack at the facility was recently restored after six years and thousands of climbing visitors.

Paul Bunyan and Babe signs shot up along scenic byway

Authorities say someone shot up the Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox signs along the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway with a rifle. Nearly all the signs along the walking trail near Brainerd were also shot.

Paul Bunyan statue in Brainerd to get facelift

A familiar mug in Brainerd is getting a facelift. The city's chamber of commerce says the Paul Bunyan statue at the Brainerd Lakes Area Welcome Center is getting refurbished after six years and thousands of climbing visitors. The center says 133,000 visitors have come through its doors this year, and many of them get pictures with the Bunyan statue.

Flap emerges over who has rights to repair Paul Bunyan statue

A Paul Bunyan statue in Akeley has been damaged by vandals, but repairs have been put on hold until the city council hears from the League of Minnesota Cities regarding who holds proprietary rights to its upgrades. The Krotzer family, who built the 63-foot high statue in 1984, alleges that hiring another source to complete work on it is a copyright infringement.