Paul Bunyan As Art
A century has passed since Paul Bunyan’s heyday of logging in this area. But the Bunyan lore, legend and name carry on more robustly than ever. Public art along the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway route pays homage to the good fun and ageless tourism-attracting power of Paul Bunyan.
Byway cities, Pine River, Pequot Lakes and Crosslake, have taken steps to capitalize on the public’s interest in ‘all things Paul’, and have developed some great public art items, or maybe public sculpture would be a more fitting term.
The Pine River Chamber building has for years had a wooden replica of Paul Bunyan’s baby boots. People could stand in them for an interesting photo opportunity. This year, much bigger baby boots were fashioned and now stand proudly in the Pine River Chamber parking area providing a new Bunyan boot photo opportunity.
Pequot Lakes, already home to Paul’s bobber, added Paul Bunyan’s chair in the little park near the bobber water tower. With the right photo equipment, this could be a ‘double Paul shot’ with both the chair and the bobber in one image. That would be a great souvenir!
Crosslake sports Paul’s ax in front of the hardware store and an ice cream cone big enough for the logger himself in front of the ice cream store.
Is there more to come? Maybe. Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway Association representatives Lynn Scharenbroich and Linda Ulland spoke to the Pequot Lakes Park Board on September 13, 2007, about potential byway-wide public art grant opportunities along the entire scenic byway route. Byway grant funding can be applied for through the FHWA National Scenic Byways Program. Following the presentation, Mayor Cathy Malecha contacted the PBSBA to report that they are looking at whether there are any public art concepts that seem to be something they want to take the lead in pursuing.
There are fourteen jurisdictions along the fifty four miles of the route: 6 cities, Breezy Point,Crosslake, Jenkins, Manhattan Beach, Pequot Lakes, Pine River; and 8 townships, Barclay, Gail Lake, Ideal, Jenkins, Mission, Pelican, Timothy, Wilson.