Meet me at ‘the rides’

Paul Bunyan Amusement Park provided memories for a lifetime

The Paul Bunyan Amusement Park ran for nearly five decades at the Lake Bemidji waterfront. (submitted photo)

The Paul Bunyan Amusement Park ran for nearly five decades at the Lake Bemidji waterfront. (submitted photo)

Editor’s note: The Beltrami County Historical Society is partnering with the Pioneer on a series of monthly articles highlighting the history of the area. For more information about the Historical Society, visit www.beltramihistory.org.

For almost five decades, families in Bemidji and visitors to the area took the children to the Paul Bunyan Amusement Park -- to “the rides,” where the youngsters drove mini-race cars, airplanes and little boats (in real water); the older kids rode the Tilt-A-Whirl, Swings, Scrambler, Berry-Go-Round, and Rock & Roll; and people of all ages enjoyed the Ferris wheel and vintage carousel with real, carved-wood horses.

The Paul Bunyan Amusement Park, and Don Holmes’ Paul Bunyan’s Playland that preceded it, provided generations with entertainment and tradition at the Bemidji lakefront. The “You might be from Bemidji” Facebook page has nostalgic comments from several contributors about their recollections:

Tiffany Grace recalled the fish ride -- an all time favorite -- and her mother saying she’d rode it, too. Lauren Multhauf Beschta remembered riding the Ferris wheel and the train with her dad. “I’d go on the fish ride and boat ride by myself. These are some of my favorite memories!”

Susan Cross worked at the park: “Best job I ever had!” she posted. “We called it ‘the rides,’” Kirsten Pontius said. Pat Hamilton commented: “Many memories from my own childhood, my children and grandchildren. It was perfect for families. …Wish it was still there.”

Bonny Seagraves’ post referred to the park as “magical.” 

For full article, go to: Bemidji Pioneer

Source, image(s), credits & more: Bemidji Pioneer | By Sue Bruns, Special to the Pioneer