HACKENSACK, Minn. — It would be hard to find anyone in Minnesota who does not recognize the name Paul Bunyan, even if they don't know the legend behind the giant woodsman.
But Lucette Kensack?
Tonight's KARE in the Air takes us to Hackensack, for an introduction to a landmark better known as Big Paul's Sweetheart. The fiberglass, 17-foot statue stands in the city park on the shores of Birch Lake, formerly accompanied by her son Paul Jr. (who was moved to Hackensack City Hall in 2007).
The University of Minnesota's "Driven to Discover" website says Lucette was constructed in 1952 by Doad Schroeder from fiberglass and wood and received a rebuild in 1991 after strong winds knocked off her head. Lucette got her name via a special naming contest - with the runner-up being Landa Happy Waters.
So where does ol' Paul come in? As legend would have it Lucette was in the woods poking around for mushrooms when Mr. Bunyan encountered her. The book "Paul Bunyan's Sweetheart (Myths, Legends, Fairy and Folktales)" says the big woodcutter fell for Lucette at first sight, but that she initially wanted nothing to do with him.
"When Paul Bunyan meets pretty Lucette, he knows she's the gal for him. After all, she's so tall she can't fit into an ordinary cabin. She can churn butter into a thick creamy river, and when she cleans the house she can twirl up a tornado! Why, it's a match made in heaven! ," writes author Marybeth Lorbiecki.
Lucette was the inspiration for Hackensack's annual summer festival "Sweetheart Days."
And as long as he was in the neighborhood, KARE 11 photojournalist and drone pilot Ron Stover ran up the road about 20 miles to the town of Akely, to visit one of a number of Paul Bunyan statues in the state.
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