Minnesota - Bemidji


This was a railroad depot (and a railroad, in the first photo) from 1911 into the 1960s, and is now a restaurant.

This was a sculpture in a parking lot at 2nd Street and Midway Drive, but has sadly been supplanted by other sculptures. I wish this one was preserved outdoors.

The 1909 Carnegie Library building occupies prime waterfront real estate at the historic center of town where former US Route 2 turned from 5th Street onto Bemidji Avenue.

Follow the Tourist Info sign to the visitor center two blocks south and enjoy these prime Lake Bemidji views. This is one of the first in a chain of lakes that form the headwaters of the Mississippi River. The tranquil pond acting as a modern art gallery is just north of the building, and the Carnegie Library is on the very left of the 6th photo (looking north).

But you didn't come to Bemidji to see water. You came here to see Paul Bunyan paraphernalia. Here he stands at 18 feet - truly as large as life - and his trusty blue ox Babe is a healthy 10 feet tall and 23 feet nose to tail. They were, indeed, constructed in 1937 as one of our yesteryear roadside attractions.

Inside the visitor center, take some time to appreciate the Fireplace of States (and some provinces and MN counties). Each engraved stone is native to its stated origin. I think "original U.S. Capitol" is my favorite. The fireplace was commissioned in 1934 and stood for decades in the "Paul Bunyan House" (the old visitor center, designed like a log cabin).

But you didn't come inside the visitor center to see a fireplace. You came here to see Paul Bunyan paraphernalia. In alphabetical order, I present to you his axe, broom, chocolate, dice (and candle holder), fishing pole, nail (no hammer), pocketwatch, stocking hat, and, well, undies.

Bonus content: Paul Bunyan's pipe, nail clippings, safety pin, paper clip, rubber band, pen, pencil, toothpick, toothbrush, eraser, button, cards, bolt, playing cards, pocketknife, fishing lure, mug, glass, yo-yo, belt, money, and ring. Did I catch them all?

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