Minnesota History Center Under Fire For Opening Exhibit About Embarrassing Time Teenage Paul Bunyan Lost Virginity To Tree

Photo by Lorie Shaull

ST. PAUL — The Minnesota History Center opened a new exhibit this month that chronicles the time a young Paul Bunyan had sex with a tree.

The Center’s decision to showcase such a controversial part of the state’s history is causing quite a stir, however. 

The exhibit in question tells the story of an infamous 1909 incident in which a 16-year-old Paul Bunyan lost his virginity to a tree. The young Bunyan was already nearly 20 feet tall at the time and, as such, romantically incompatible with others of his age group. On August 17th of that year, Bunyan gave in to his hormonal urges and initiated coitus with a crevice in a shapely looking balsam poplar tree in a remote area outside Brainerd. 

Bunyan was interrupted about halfway through the proceedings when Babe the blue ox happened to be walking by and let out an audible gasp upon witnessing the embarrassing act of dendrophilia. 

Bunyan tried to play it off by claiming he was just “testing to see if it’s possible to chop down trees with your hips” and that the sweat on his face was from “the morning dew” even though it was four in the afternoon. Babe pretended to believe him and the two never spoke of the matter again.

The exhibit, entitled “Youthful Folly in the Northwoods: Stories From The Time Paul Bunyan Fucked A Tree”  features a 1:4 scale replica of the original curvaceous tree, an era-accurate lambskin condom the size of a punching bag, and an animatronic version of Bunyan begging visitors not to think any less of him. 

Since the exhibit was announced, many have objected to its subject matter.

 “The time Paul Bunyan copulated with a tree was a very dark moment in our state’s otherwise proud history, and our young people shouldn’t be exposed to it” said Bert Carter, founder of Minnesotans For Christian Decency. “Why can’t they make a nice non-shameful exhibit about Fort Snelling, the Dakota War, or the guy they named Lake Calhoun after?”

Others are opposed to the exhibit on purely academic grounds.

“From what I’ve seen, this exhibit contains some major historical inaccuracies,” said Yvette Thomas, a logging industry historian. “For instance, there is some evidence to suggest the tree may have actually been a Jack Pine, and several professors in the field dispute the idea that Babe was so disgusted when he saw Bunyan having sex with the tree that he threw up all over the place, as suggested by the exhibit.”

The Minnesota History Center has made it clear they will keep the exhibit up despite the public outcry.

“Learning about the time he had sex with a tree is crucial to a proper understanding of not only Paul Bunyan himself but also the history of Minnesota at the turn of the 20th century. His intense shame is part of what drove him to cut down so many trees later in life, affecting the very ecology of the state” said museum curator Mark Hansen. “In many ways, we are still feeling the echoes of the time Paul Bunyan had sex with a tree to this very day.”