Where did the twin Paul Bunyans come from?

Big loggers at Jackson County Expo. Jim Craven 2/17/2007

The twin Paul Bunyans didn't follow a blue ox named Babe to the Jackson County Expo in Central Point.

The 37-foot-tall tin loggers, which had been used to advertise a long-defunct heavy equipment sales firm along Highway 99 near the Sage Road intersection in the 1940s, were restored and moved to their present site early in July 1994.

The Bunyan brothers, each wearing logging boots 4 feet tall, were placed there as a symbol of the timber industry by the Eugene F. Burrill Lumber Co. of White City, the last independently owned lumber mill in Jackson County which closed in 1998. Rodda Paint and Decor Centers helped restore the Bunyans.

The big brothers had fallen into disrepair at their original site; their red shirts were faded as were their blue jeans. They were also obscured by another sign plastered on top of them before they were removed from the site in 1993.

In the effort, the paint company supplied the paint and the lumber company offered the expertise of veteran millwright Frank Haynes, whose hobbies were painting landscapes and restoring antique engines.

"This is a historical landmark in this area," Haynes told the Mail Tribune after he used a huge crane to erect the Bunyans on an old windmill tower at the Expo. "I can remember when people used to give directions, using these signs. All the kids referred to it as the 'Paul Bunyans.' "

Haynes spent some 150 hours working on the pair, from sandblasting to reinforcing and repainting. Both wear hard hats reminding passersby to "Keep Oregon Green." One holds a double-bitted ax; the other a peavey, a long-handled tool used to turn logs.

Haynes removed the words "Rogue Equipment Sales" from across the shirts to place the initials "EFB" for Eugene F. Burrill.

"I'm glad someone thought enough of these signs to save them," Haynes said. "They're part of our history."


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