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America's Quirkiest Landmarks



Bemidji's Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox

Todd Buchanan

The joy of a summer road trip is found in the open road, fresh air, regional food favorites, and, yes, that quirky roadside attraction.

Certainly the idea of that odd roadside landmark is associated with days gone by when automobiles rather than airlines were still the primary mode of travel and motorists could still meander along Route 66 making the journey itself an important part of the trip. Perhaps many such landmarks could trace their lineage to the early 20th century. Whether they are good for a memory or a modern smile, the roadside oddities remain very popular (as many selfies on Facebook and Instagram can attest).

USA Today wants to name America’s “10 best quirky landmarks,” and a Minnesota attraction has made the list. Through Monday, June 23, cast your vote for your favorite. Bemidji’s Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox attraction has made the list of finalists. Built in 1937, the statues honor the well-known legend. It is said that Bemidji’s mayor at the time, Earl Bucklen, was used as the model for Paul, according to the paper.

Here are the other finalists. I personally think they are missing a couple of other Minnesota landmarks. (Where’s the biggest ball of twine? Or the Jolly Green Giant? And if the world’s biggest bat is on the list, what about the big boot in Red Wing?) You may vote once a day if you like.

Ave Maria Grotto: Cullman, Alaska
Beer Can House: Houston
Cabazon Dinosaurs: Cabazon, California
Cadillac Ranch: Amarillo, Texas

Carhenge: Alliance, Nebraska
Dog Bark Park Inn: Cottonwood, Idaho

Enchanted Highway: Regent, North Dakota
Farnham Colossi: Unger, West Virginia
Foamhenge: Natural Bridge, Virginia
Fremont Troll: Seattle

Galleta Meadows Estate: Borrego Springs, California
Goldwell Open Air Museum: Rhyolite, Nevada
Hood Milk Bottle: Boston

Longaberger Home Office: Newark, Ohio

Peachoid: Gaffney, South Carolina
Prada Marfa: Marfa, Texas

South of the Border: Dillon, South Carolina
World's Biggest Bat: Louisville

The winners (10 best) will be announced on Wednesday, June 25 at noon.

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