Jump to content
American Road Magazine
Celebrating our two-lane highways of yesteryear…And the joys of driving them today!
Keep the Show on the Road!

Babe Loses Head On U.s. 101 In California

Recommended Posts

As I prepared this post I visited the Trees of Mystery web site. I was saddened by the news that Babe, Paul Bunyan’s Blue Ox, at the Trees of Mystery on the Redwood Highway had lost his head in November (2007). Paul Bunyan, Babe, and the End of the Trail statue are landmarks on the Highway going all the way back to 1948 when I first saw them there.

Watch the Movie when Babe was whole! BTW you will probably enjoy it more of you click full screen.

 

The Redwood Highway (old US101) is an American classic. We took a trip along its length in 1948 and again in 1950 and one stop was the Trees of Mystery, another American classic.

 

I remember in those days while your car was parked in the lot, employees tied a sign on your bumper with bailing wire advertising the attraction. Really! It was the precursor to the bumper sticker! Since the bumper was not integrated with the body, it was easy to wire a sign to it. We didn’t remove it until we got home. It was an honored symbol of road travel!

 

We also traveled the road in 1965 and the movie is from that date. Yes, Paul is waving, and Babe (with his head) is nodding.

 

Babe was built in the late 1940's from a kit...and note that Paul grew a lot between 1948 and 1965. Do we have any later reports?

 

I intended to show the Trees Motel across the road, which is operated by the same folks, and at the time (1965) featured the World’s Smallest bar. It had only two and a half stools (or maybe three and a half, I don’t recall for certain.) Either way it was tiny, and a good roadside attraction. Unfortunately I was about to exceed my limit on Vimeo for this week and there is no option for extra space....so I trimmed the video.

 

Enjoy the movie! It includes our 1948 slide, and 1965 movies.

 

Keep the Show on the Road

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After I posted the Trees of Mystery movie, I ran across this brochure in the “archives.” Paul is the same as he was in 1948, and End of the Trail is surrounded by the white posts showing in the 1948 family slide. However Babe exists, so this must be from between 1950 and 1965. No biggie, but kind of fun.

 

ARTOMBro1.jpg

 

ARTOMBro2.jpg

 

 

Keep the Show on the Road

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I remember in those days while your car was parked in the lot, employees tied a sign on your bumper with bailing wire advertising the attraction. Really! It was the precursor to the bumper sticker! Since the bumper was not integrated with the body, it was easy to wire a sign to it. We didn’t remove it until we got home. It was an honored symbol of road travel!

 

 

 

Keep the Show on the Road

 

They were still tying on those signs at least into the early 70's. I remember stopping there with my parents on a trip to Canada around '70 or '71 and they tied one of those on the front bumper of my parents station wagon. It stayed on the whole trip up to Vancouver, across to Saskatchewan, and back home. When we got home my dad took the sign off the bumper and I stuck it on my bedroom wall, bug splats and all.

 

Could you imagine what would happen today if someone came and wired a sign on the bumper of some guys Vette? Different times.

 

Roadhound

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many places claim Paul Bunyan, but the truth is Paul was born and raised on the coast of Maine!!!!! The many bays and inlets around Penobscot Bay were formed by the waves generated when Pauls mother put him in his cradle in the water near their home, letting the natural wave motion sooth Paul to sleep.

How did Babe become blue?? Babe was a normal colored ox when he was born, but one of those very cold Maine winters turned him blue.

His exact age that he started cutting trees is not known, but some research suggests maybe as early as 15 - or younger. The problem he had was finding a smithy that could make his axes for him - took a lot of steel to do that.

After he'd done away with most of the trees in Maine, he moved west with Babe.

At least that's the way the legend goes. :rolleyes:

 

Hudsonly,

Alex Burr

Memphis, TN

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Many places claim Paul Bunyan, but the truth is Paul was born and raised on the coast of Maine!!!!! The many bays and inlets around Penobscot Bay were formed by the waves generated when Pauls mother put him in his cradle in the water near their home, letting the natural wave motion sooth Paul to sleep.

How did Babe become blue?? Babe was a normal colored ox when he was born, but one of those very cold Maine winters turned him blue.

His exact age that he started cutting trees is not known, but some research suggests maybe as early as 15 - or younger. The problem he had was finding a smithy that could make his axes for him - took a lot of steel to do that.

After he'd done away with most of the trees in Maine, he moved west with Babe.

At least that's the way the legend goes. :rolleyes:

 

Hudsonly,

Alex Burr

Memphis, TN

 

Alex,

 

And now we know where Paul settled when he went west! ;)

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

 

They were still tying on those signs at least into the early 70's. I remember stopping there with my parents on a trip to Canada around '70 or '71 and they tied one of those on the front bumper of my parents station wagon. It stayed on the whole trip up to Vancouver, across to Saskatchewan, and back home. When we got home my dad took the sign off the bumper and I stuck it on my bedroom wall, bug splats and all.

 

Could you imagine what would happen today if someone came and wired a sign on the bumper of some guys Vette? Different times.

 

Roadhound

 

Rick,

 

Wow! I would never have guessed that the wire-on "bumper stickers" survived into the 1970's! I thought I was describing a brief practice.

 

There are very few other roadside attactions out of the 1940's that have survived, so this is kind of a special place. I will be interested to see if they correct their website to reflect 60 years rather then 50 years. I sent them an e-mail and the photo. Of course, the web site error must just be bad arithmentic...they know they exited in 1948.

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Alex,

 

And now we know where Paul settled when he went west! ;)

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

Rick,

 

Wow! I would never have guessed that the wire-on "bumper stickers" survived into the 1970's! I thought I was describing a brief practice.

 

There are very few other roadside attactions out of the 1940's that have survived, so this is kind of a special place. I will be interested to see if they correct their website to reflect 60 years rather then 50 years. I sent them an e-mail and the photo. Of course, the web site error must just be bad arithmentic...they know they exited in 1948.

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

 

Another attraction on 101 that would attach the bumper signs was Sea Lion Caves. I don't recall getting one of those on that particular trip but I do remember seeing them. Great bit of advertising as every car you would pass on 101 would see the big yellow sign on your bumper coming at them. The youngins' in the backseat can read and after seeing the rolling billboards pass by for a hundred miles they would let the parents know when they got there. That's probably why we stopped. (we weren't distracted by DVD's or Gameboy's back then.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Babe lost his head?! Terrible news. We did an article on Trees of Mystery in American Road a while back. We've been there a few times. I know it is one of our favorite roadside attractions.

 

:o

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[

I remember in those days while your car was parked in the lot, employees tied a sign on your bumper with bailing wire advertising the attraction. Really! It was the precursor to the bumper sticker! Since the bumper was not integrated with the body, it was easy to wire a sign to it. We didn’t remove it until we got home. It was an honored symbol of road travel!

 

 

They used to do that at Rock City and Ruby Falls in the '50s:) MY family, however, didn't consider it an honorable symbol, but vandalism:(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The wired-on bumper sticker was alive in the late 1970s in the Black Hills of South Dakota. I worked at Crazy Horse Memorial from 1978 to 1985, much of the time as a parking lot attendant. We did not put any kind of stickers on cars, but the vehicles coming in that had already visited other attractions were covered with them.

 

I remember the wired on type from Cosmos Mystery Area (a gravity hill type of place that's still open) and from the 1880 Train (still operating as well). Cosmos had neon orange ones and the train's were lime green, so neither was difficult to spot.

 

Reptile Gardens and Bear Country USA both used actual "sticker" stickers! I knew these very well because many visitors apparently saw them on their cars for the first time when they got out at their next stop, which would be Crazy Horse. The garbage cans we had around the parking lot were always "decorated" on the outside with Bear Country and Reptile Gardens stickers that had been peeled off by angry drivers.

 

I'm not sure when these practices were discontinued, but I would guess it would have been around 1980.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×