Lassen County Points of Interest
A plaque at the base of the statue reads:
The Paul Bunyan Legend Lives On
Paul Bunyan has been the hero of lumberjack whopper tales that were handed down for generations in the camps of white pine lumbermen in the north eastern forests of America.
In 1913 the Walker family who owned the Red River Mill in Minnesota moved their operations out west. It was a big job carving a mill town out of the northern Sierras - they needed all the help they could get - so they brought Paul Bunyan with them.
Never before known outside the haunts of the logging camps, the exploits of the giant lumberjack were first recorded in print for the Walkers by W.B. Laughead from 1914-1944. In addition to promoting Westwood and the Paul Bunyan pine products, the publication of these small books made Paul and friends: Babe the Blue Ox, Sour Dough Sam, Brimstone Bill, Johnny Inkslinger, Big Ole and Sport (the reversible dog) national household favorites - thus establishing an American mythology.
In 1946 the Walkers sold the mill to Fruit Growers Supply Co. who continued to operate the mill until it's [sic] shut down in 1956. In the last publication of "Paul Bunyan and His Big Blue Ox" (1944) Paul is quoted as saying " I'm not saying goodbye, I'm still here on the job for Red River and maybe I'll be serving you again some time in the future."
We celebrate the return of Paul Bunyan to his home town on this 75th anniversary of Westwood. May his destiny be to continue fascinating children and entertaining adults - for it is only in the hearts of people that legends can truly live.
For another lumberjack carved from a tree trunk, see Weed Historic Lumber Town Museum.