- Associated Press - Thursday, February 12, 2015

BANGOR, Maine (AP) - Some folks think Paul Bunyan is getting lonely after standing tall for 56 years in Bass Park, and they’re lobbying to recreate his hardworking companion, Babe the Blue Ox.

Artist J. Normand Martin, who designed the iconic statue, presented a city committee on Thursday with a scale mock-up of what a 20-foot-tall Babe might look like next to the original 31-foot-tall Bunyan.

The current statute, a regular stop for tourists, celebrates the city’s history from the late 1800s, when the Penobscot River was jammed with ships and the city was called the Lumber Capital of the World. Bunyan, dressed in a plaid shirt, stands in Bass Park with a double-sided ax on his shoulder and a peavey, a lumberjack’s hook, in his hand.

Martin, who’s 89, likes the idea of giving Bunyan a companion. He said Babe the Blue Ox was left off the original design because of concerns about the statue’s $20,000 cost when it was erected in 1959.

“I think it’d be a nice addition,” Martin said Thursday. “Babe the Blue Ox did a lot of the work in the woods. It wasn’t just Paul. The blue ox did a lot of the hauling. He was Paul’s helper.”

The idea has been kicking around for years.

The presentation of the mock-up on Thursday represented the first step in the process. Supporters including former city councilor Gerry Palmer are seeking $1,000 to create an official design. If officials and residents agree to proceed, then there’d be a private fundraising campaign. City Manager Cathy Conlow said the price tag could exceed $100,000.

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