Paul Bunyon - Atlas Obscura

Paul Bunyon

While he no longer has an eatery to give him context, this off-brand Paul Bunyan still holds his giant hot dog with pride. 


Created in 1966 as an eye-grabbing restaurant advertisement along Route 66, the displaced muffler man known as Paul Bunyon (sic) still holds his precious hot dog for all to see even after being moved from his original spot.

The oversized fiberglass novelty was first installed on the roof of Bunyon’s hotdog stand in Cicero, Illinois in 1966. Unlike the Paul Bunyan figure from which the figure was molded, Bunyon is holding a massive hotdog instead of an ax. Owned by World War II veteran Hamlet Stephens, the hot dog stand’s name was purposefully misspelled to avoid any copyright issues. Eventually Stephens had the 19-foot woodsman transferred from the roof to the doorstep of his restaurant so that the children and visitors who loved the figure could actually clamber on and over his feet.

Paul Bunyon became a beloved fixture along Route 66 over the decades, but the heady hot dog days could not last forever. Unfortunately Bunyon’s hot dog stand closed in 2002. However Bunyon’s story was not yet over. In 2003 Bunyon was moved to a spot in Atlanta, Illinois after they won a bid for the much lauded Americana statue.

Unfortunately Stephens passed away in 2012, but his fiberglass legacy lives on. Unfortunately (or possibly fortunately) without the hot dog stand for context, Bunyon takes on a much more odd and wondrous presence.     

Know Before You Go

After checking out Paul Bunyon, walk across the street to the charming Palms Grill Cafe for a good meal or an excellent piece of pie.

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