BANGOR, Maine — People travel from all over the country to Bangor to check out the world's largest statue of Paul Bunyan. It was designed by Normand Martin, who recently turned 95 years old.
The legendary lumberjack was chosen to honor the city of Bangor's 125th anniversary. So 62 years ago, Martin was tapped by the city's committee to create the statue. It took him months to design it with clay.
Martin later took the clay model to a company in New York City to replicate it. The statue has been standing tall on Main Street in Bangor ever since.
"No matter where I go in the state of Maine, I'll just drop a little hint now and then you know...invariably they say 'oh yeah of course we've seen it!' So that's kind of fun, I come close to feeling like a big shot!" Martin said.
A few weeks ago for his 95th birthday, the City of Bangor recognized Martin for his efforts and for creating such an iconic piece that has brought many people to the area.
Martin also celebrated the big day by eating a piece of a huge Paul Bunyan cake, created by Frank's Bakery.
"Someone made the suggestion that we gotta leave something to Bangor as a memorial to this anniversary," Martin said as he told the story of how the sculpture's idea started. "The only that could probably do it would be me, so he said 'go ahead!' I remember that so clearly...'go ahead!'"
"He just gave so much back to the community over the years!" City of Bangor chair Dan Tremble said. "I thought it would be neat to recognize him for all that he's done, not just Paul Bunyan but there are so many other things that he did."
Martin took his Paul Bunyan clay model in his lap all the way to New York City, hoping a well-known company, Messmoor & Damon, could replicate it.
Martin said he went and looked at the replicate statue and said it was big and it was impressive.
Martin said next time you drive or walk by the statue, stop and check the hands—"it's where the real test is, if they are detailed and good, most likely the sculpture is a good one," he said.
"It didn't take long for people to really learn to appreciate it, and I always felt good about that!"