1971 : Oscoda Claims Paul Bunyan

August 20, 2022 all-day

Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox Hanging Out at Castle Rock in St. Ignace, MI

On Aug. 20, 1971, the city of Oscoda held a Paul Bunyan Festival to establish ownership of the legendary logger who could straighten rivers, strip trees by sliding down them with axes tied to his boots and eat heroic quantities of pancakes.

Oscodans made their claim on the basis that the first published story about Bunyan was printed in Oscoda in 1906. That writer, James MacGillivray, later quoted Bunyan on a contest to cut down the biggest tree in the forest: “They’d hacked her to fall to the north, and we’d hacked her to fall to the south, and there that blamed tree stood for a month or more, clean sawed through, but not knowin’ which way to drop ’til a windstorm came along and throwed her over.”

Some of the cities that have claimed to be the official birthplace of Paul Bunyan are Bemidji, Minn., Bangor, Maine, and Eau Claire, Wis.

But Michiganders know better.

Sources :

Surf and Sand II

Jeff Waraniak, “Birth of a Legend :Cutting to the core of Paul Bunyan’s true Great Lakes origins“, Hour Detroit, August 29, 2016.

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