BEMIDJI, Minn. (WCCO) — WCCO viewers spoke up and selected their favorite Minnesota roadside attraction.

Not unlike Texas, everything seems bigger in Minnesota.

From Baudette to Blue Earth, Rothsay to Red Lake, in Minnesota even our balls of twine are larger than life.

But there is nothing bigger than the legend of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox.

“If you look at a map of the shape of Lake Bemidji, you’ll see it’s one of Paul’s footprints,” Carol Olson said.

In 1937, Paul and Babe were constructed by the Bemidji Rotary as part of the Winter Carnival. Their arrival was big news — even “Life” magazine took notice.

Paul’s big for sure, but a little on the boxy side. He’s apparently a product of the man he was modeled after.

“He’s 18 feet tall, and the mayor was 6 feet tall, so the other measurements of him coincide to the size of the mayor at the time,” Olson said.

Boxy or not, Paul’s a very popular guy — everyone wants their picture taken with him and Babe.

“In the months of June, July and August, we see people from all 50 states,” Olson said.

But it’s not just tourists. The duo’s part of Bemidji and mean something very special to the people who live here.

“Paul and Babe stay here and hopefully they’re always going to be here,” Lars Voltz said.

In the 1950s, the Kodak Company said that Paul and Babe were the second-most photographed landmark in the country, trailing only Mount Rushmore.

Next week it’s all about Minnesota’s best spot for mini golf.

Tweet Matt or email him.


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