Battle of the Bunyans: Who Has the Best Paul Bunyan Statue?
Bangor claims to be the birthplace of the lumber industry as well as a well known mythical lumberman. But Bangor is not the only place you can find a Paul Bunyan Statue, there are at least 5 others! But is Bangor’s Paul the best?
Bangor’s Bunyan boasts an impressive height of 31 feet tall and weighs a diet worthy 3,700 lbs and has stood on Bangor’s Main Street since 1959 since it was donated by New York-based builders Messmoor & Damon. The plaque on the base of the statue suggests Bangor’s Bunyan is the biggest, however, this may not be completely true.
There are other Paul Bunyan statues throughout the country, most similar to ours is the Bunyan in the Kenton neighborhood of Portland, Oregon. Not only did they take our statue idea but they made him the same exact height and was made in the same year. Portland’s Bunyan is possibly the most popular as it became part of the National Registrar of Historic Places in 2009.
One of the things noticeably missing from Bangor’s Bunyan is his buddy Babe the blue ox. This is something that Bemidji, Minnesota says sets their Bunyan apart from ours. The rivalry between the two Bunyans’ has been ongoing for years and came to a head in 2014 when a proposal to build a Babe in Bangor was presented. Bangor residents were quick to judge Bemidji’s Bunyan and Babe saying things about the craftsmanship of the statue calling it juvenile and saying it looked like it was created from paper mache’.
It’s still up in the air whether Bangor will be getting a Babe statue, leaving Bemidji thinking they are still the best. I say we let them keep their minuscule 20-foot-tall statue and ox because Bangor’s Bunyan has the best reviews of all the Bunyans’ in the nation according to TripAdvisor.
With over 100 reviews the majority agree Bangor’s Bunyan is the best! Most of the few negative comments about the statue were about how difficult it was to get to and what an eye sore the surrounding area was during the construction of the Cross Insurance Center. Only one reviewer thought the statue was a total waste saying “The statue isn’t near any wood that needs to be chopped and he’s just boring. Even a purple Ox would improve this landmark”. Yes, the reviewer actually said PURPLE ox.
Other than that most residents and visitors agree they are happy to see Bangor’s Bunyan’s handsome, smiling face on Main Street. He may in fact be the only Mainer who loves all four seasons, keeping his smile even while being exposed to snow, ice, rain, and humid summers. He has also sported a giant Fez hat for a Shriner Convention and a blanket sized bandanna when Willie Nelson came to town, and that is why Bangor’s Bunyan is best!