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South Colton man puts Paul Bunyan statue near road as tribute to lumberjacks

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COLTON — What began as a pencil sketch on a piece of lined scrap paper soon became an 8-foot tribute to lumberjacks in Colton.

Paul Bunyan and his blue ox, Babe, stand tall atop their stone perch in Roger C. Scovil’s front yard at 4408 Route 56, South Colton.

Mr. Scovil said that seven years ago he had the idea to have something built in dedication to Colton lumberjacks and woodsmen from the past and present.

“I don’t think Colton would be here if it wasn’t for them,” he said. “They had a lot to do with this area at that time. A lot of people that lived around here had somebody in their family who was a lumberjack or worked in the woods.”

Mr. Scovil said that generations ago, woodsmen built the Colton community. It was a major way to make a living back then, he said.

His father was a lumberjack in the area for years, driving trucks that hauled lumber, and Mr. Scovil also worked in the business for Frank Young, father of his wife, Leota M., who ran his own logging company.

“I had two years of it, so I kind of knew what it was like and the hard work they do,” he said. “They were hard-working people.”

Mr. Scovil said lumberjacks of the Adirondacks area begin their workdays early in the morning and sometimes work 12 to 14 hours a day. He said that sometimes, lumberjacks would camp out in the woods for weeks at a time during the winter to get the job done.

“I respect those people and that’s why we wanted this done,” he said. “We just don’t want them to be forgotten.”

Mr. Scovil paid artist Don Holland,75, South Colton, to cut out and paint the statue of the famous lumberjack.

“I started with a sketch and projected it onto plywood, cut out the image with a saber saw, primed it and painted it by hand,” Mr. Holland said.

Mr. Holland designs and paints signs for businesses and towns all over St. Lawrence County. He also has painted cars for derbies.

“In this business you do many things,” he said. “He wanted to make a dedication to the lumberjacks, so I said ‘Why not? We’ll try to make it.’”

After it was finished, Mr. Scovil had the sign placed on a stump in his yard. However, the stump began to rot over the years, so he had it moved to its stone mantle near the road, for which their son Jeffrey A. Scovil, a mason in the Colton area, did all the stonework.

Mr. Scovil has solar lights installed to illuminate the statue at night.

The wood lumberjack’s new position near the road has been getting him some attention.

“We’ve been getting phone calls asking what it’s all about,” he said. “Every time I go upstate, people say it was a good idea and they really like it.”

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