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Celebrating Paul Bunyan Day

Paul Bunyan Day is right around the corner! The celebration of the heroic giant and protector of our great outdoors is on June 28th. Paul Bunyan is a lumberjack legend of America and was known for his grit, immense strength, and diligence while working within the northern forests of the United States.

Paul Bunyan originated from traditions and folk tales told around the campfires of the logging industry of the northern woods of America. The stories would allude to his extreme strength and capabilities of being proficient and clever within tough situations. The story has it, that Paul Bunyan was delivered by five large storks to his parents in Bangor, Maine, and as he grew up, his clothes were so big that he used wagon wheels for buttons on his shirts. Paul Bunyan was much of a disruption for the small town, so his parents rafted him off the coast of Maine and as he would rock in his sleep, he created massive waves that would sink ships and flood nearing towns. Later on, one winter day after the forest was covered in fresh snow, Paul Bunyan went to explore the woods as the snow slightly appeared blue, he came across a baby ox that had blue hair and named him Babe. History has it that Paul Bunyan and his trusted companion, Babe the Blue Ox, produced the 10,000 lakes in Minnesota as they walked across the Midwest and northern woods of America. Within the logging community and lumber industry, some older crewmen believed that Paul Bunyan lived in the northern woods, and would claim that they worked with Paul Bunyan and his accompanied friend, Babe the Blue Ox. Legend has it, Babe had the power of nine horses and weighed 5,000 pounds, along with seven axe handles could fit between Babe's two eyes. Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox worked hand-in-hand logging and pioneering the way for loggers alike during the flourish of the lumber industry. Another tale of Paul Bunyan is that he dug out the spot where Lake Superior thrives and Babe created the Mississippi River by accidentally knocking over a water tank.

Historians believe that Paul Bunyan was derived and created from the work accomplished by an actual lumberjack named Fabian Fournier. Fabian Fournier was a French-Canadian (just like Duluth Pack's founder, Camille Poirier) logger who was six feet tall and moved to Michigan to work on a lumber crew after the civil war. At the time, the average height barely surpassed five feet, so as Fabian Fournier was reaching six feet tall, with huge hands, and rumored of having two rows of teeth, the crewmen speculated his sense of hardiness and brawn capabilities. As history carried on, Fabian Fournier’s narrative and tall tales integrated with another lumberjack by the name of Bon Jean. During the Papineau Rebellion of 1837, when the working lumbermen of St. Eustache, Canada, rioted against the newly distinguished Queen Victoria and her British Regime, Bon Jean held a significant role throughout this rebellion. It was known that the French accent of Bon Jean’s name developed into the surname of Bunyan that is familiarized today.

It is said that the first of Paul Bunyan’s infamous tales was published in 1906, by an Oscoda, Michigan local journalist named James MacGillivray. He publicized Paul Bunyan’s “Round River” adventure in the daily newspaper.

The Round River story proceeds by Paul Bunyan and a few of his fellow crewmen float    down the river on logs to find the mill, as days continue, they float past a camp that     Paul Bunyan believes to look precisely like their own lumber camp. Paul Bunyan does dwell upon it, however, because the men are very busy with their labor and need to       continue down the river. A few days more and Paul Bunyan cannot stand floating past      camps that look too similar to their own. Paul Bunyan gets off the logs and walks up to a camp, astonished to find his camp cook, Sourdough Sam, coming out of his tent. Sourdough Sam continues and explains, "We've been watchin' you fellers floating    past the camp every couple of days with the lumber and we’ve been wondering where        you think yer going!” Paul Bunyan then digs out the center to turn Round River into a     lake, connecting it to the river that will indeed float him down to the mill.

The local journalist of Oscoda, Michigan, James MacGillivray, collaborated with a poet who wrote a Bunyan themed poem for the American Lumberman magazine, initiating the first of Paul Bunyan’s national display. A few years later, Paul Bunyan became Minnesota’s Red River Lumber Company’s mascot and was presented on their advertisement campaigns with the first known illustrations of this colossal lumberjack hero.

The legend of Paul Bunyan and his mighty companion, Babe the Blue Ox, sustains within the famous statue that represents their mighty strength and stands prideful in Bemidji, Minnesota. Along with Paul Bunyan Land, which was a campground and amusement park located in Brainerd, Minnesota that had various attractions and sites dedicated and reflected upon Paul Bunyan, Babe the Blue Ox, and their adventures throughout the northland. 

Whether you want to complement Paul Bunyan’s appearance with a rugged flannel, beanie, and bearded look, or incorporate a beautiful blue canvas to your wardrobe by virtue of Babe the Blue Ox, Duluth Pack is your place. Also, make sure to check out our buffalo wool products that remind us of these two woodland heroes. We hope you get out and channel your inner Paul Bunyan strength within your adventures today and every day!.

Happy Paul Bunyan Day, friends!