History for the Rest of Us

Paul Bunyan – Landscape Engineering

Paul Bunyan – Landscape Engineering

Oct 26, 2012

Old Hewey wrought, so I’ve been taught, six days to make the world; He built the sky, and rearing high, the mighty mountains hurled; One only spot he finished not, and then his tents he furled. But e’re on high, above the sky, he went up out of sight, With final shout he called about his workers all of might, And thus he spoke, e’re like a cloak he clothed himself with night: “Good helpers all, both great and small, this is my last command, This place you see must finished be that all may understand I hold it blest ’bove all the rest, the final promised land.” Old Puget then lined up his men, he asked each one to work, Three mighty men stood by him then and labored like a Turk, While all the rest refused the test and did their best to shirk. Paul Bunyan drew his fingers through his long and tangled locks, He hardly spoke but took the yoke and sought his old Blue Ox; He said “Watch me, I’ll build a sea, you two may use the rocks.” Paul Bunyan and his Blue Ox (image by: Kiley Beecher http://kileybeecher.deviantart.com/) With cunning stroke the soil he broke, he flung the dirt aside; The rocks he tore with mighty roar and flung them far and wide, He piled the earth till hills had birth and grew on either side. The old Blue Ox he hitched to rocks and tore the big ones out, He rolled them out and all about and called each one a mount, And lest I lie, against the sky, they witness if you doubt. At reach and bay he dug away, he shaped a thousand isles; By headlands steep dug channels deep where rippling water smiles; With generous hand he took the sand and built the beach for miles. Like golden gleam of painter’s dream he built old Puget Sound, Where skies of blue the waters woo a thousand isles around, With emerald sheen they’re always green and always spring abounds. Then old Cascade took up his spade and reared against the sky, A row of peaks whose summit seeks a marriage with the sky, A...

Paul Bunyan – Background

Paul Bunyan – Background

Oct 26, 2012

Paul Bunyan was the logging industry; not, to be sure, as it is found in Forest Service Reports or in profit and loss statements, but rather as it burned in the bones of the true North Woods lumberjack. To understand the significance of the Bunyan stories one must know something of the men who first told them. While the lumber industry has found a place in every section of the country except the treeless plains, it was the pineries of the Lake States which furnished most of its romance. Logging had begun on the Atlantic Coast even before the first permanent English settlement, but it never reached a size sufficient to challenge the imagination until it came to the Lake States. While the industry had begun on Lake Erie about 1800, its development in the West was slow until after the Civil War. By that time saw mill machinery was ready to make lumber rapidly and cheaply, and the fast growing population of the Mississippi Valley brought the market within reach of the forests. After 1865 the lumbermen swept across Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota like a whirlwind, laying waste with ax and saw that mighty pine forest, until by 1900 all that remained were small fragments of the original forest and hundreds of miles of stumps. Then they passed on to the Gulf States or the Pacific Coast. “Down East” logging had been largely a side line to agriculture or other occupations, although there were some men who were full-time loggers, but with the opening up of the Lake States, logging became a distinct profession, with a professional pride in work and a devotion to it which kept the logger from straying off into other industries. The logger went into the woods early in the fall, spent the entire winter snow-bound in a lonely camp with other men like-minded with himself, a dozen to a hundred or more of them. With the spring thaw they brought the logs down the river in a great drive, and then spent their winter stake in a blaze of glory among the bright lights of a sawdust town. Then they went into the saw mills till it was...

Paul Bunyan – Building Crater Lake

Paul Bunyan – Building Crater Lake

Oct 23, 2012

I camped one year by Crater Lake, in the State of Oregon, And there I met a pioneer who lived by trap and gun. And often of an evening by the camp fire’s ruddy light, He told me how the West was made and of great men of might. He told of the two Joe McFraus, the one whose name was Pete, And how he labored for his board to get enough to eat. And also of the Terrible Swede who gloried in a brawl, One day he fought the riot squad and licked them one and all. But master of the mighty men he loved to tell the best, The tales of old Paul Bunyan and how he built the West. He told of how he built the Sound, and how once on a spree He dug the Strait of Bering to drain the Arctic Sea. And how he split the old Cascades, and, by the way, said he, “That reminds me of this very lake and how it came to be.” And so he smoked of my cigars and sampled my home brew, And told the tale about the lake and swore that it was true. He said it was the very time when Bunyan pulled in two The Cascade Mountains and thus let the Columbia River through; He said the Blue Ox braced his feet and came within a dime Of pulling California loose from its sunny clime. And he swore ’twas true as gospel, that day the “Native Son” Had first come down from out the trees to see what could be done. Well, Bunyan listened to their wail, and checked his ox of blue, Then staking down the southern end had pulled the range in two. Then when he finished up his job he just pulled up the stake, And water ran into the hole and there was Crater Lake. Now you can take this tale or not, he swore that it was true, And I don’t think he’d lie to me while drinking my home brew. SOURCE:Paul Bunyan and His Loggers by Otis T. and Cloice R....