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Building Paul Bunyan
1937 | Bemidji, Minnesota
In the early fall of 1937, the Paul Bunyan Carnival was organized with Hector Brown in charge. Various organizations in the city were requested to take over certain parts of the program. Cyril Dickinson, of the Dickinson Construction Company was delegated to build a statue of Paul Bunyan. Earl Bucklen, mayor of Bemidji at the time, was used as a model. All measurements were scaled up three-to-one. The statue was built late in the fall and had to be covered with canvas while the cement was hardening.
In order to get some idea of the labor and materials which went into Paul's construction, Mr. Dickinson furnished the following statistics:
Concrete footings to water level: 5 1/2 tons
Weight of statue above footings: 2 1/2 tons
Height of statue: 18 feet
Built in the winter of 1937, 737 man-hours were used in the construction of Paul Bunyan. The statue is of wood framework above the footings, over which reinforcing bars form the outline. Heavy steel laths are over the reinforcing bars and cement stucco is applied to this. The reinforcing of the footings is of heavy steel and continues up through the legs of the statue. This was intended to be reinforced in such a manner as to withstand a high velocity of wind. The statue was painted at the time of construction and is touched up each year before the summer tourism season begins.
Paul's shotgun rested beside him for many years. Made of wood, it deteriorated over time and was removed. A replica of the gun is on display in the Tourist Information Center.