The public celebrated the historic Route 66 site’s 40th birthday Friday with birthday cake, ice cream and music, provided by DJ Connection.
The event was presented by the Catoosa Arts and Tourism Society and Fins of the Blue Whale, a non-profit organization, self-tasked to preserve the Blue Whale and the family who built the site.
“Blue,” constructed by local Zoologist Hugh S. Davis, was completed in 1972.
The site quickly became an attraction for area kids as a place to cool off and enjoy time with friends and family.
Predecessors of the Blue Whale included the Ark, circa 1970s, where many young children celebrated birthdays, as well as Natures Acres, circa mid-60s to mid-70s where children learned real facts about animals and reptiles from H. Davis and his wife Zelta.
“Eventually visitors found the Blue Whale and the swimming hole to be more fun and the Ark and Natures Acres were closed down,” said Richard Blaine, current owner of the site.
Enjoyment of the Blue Whale continued until it closed in 1988 due to H. Davis’ weakening health and popularity of privately-owned pools.
Five years after his death, three local Chamber of Commerce presidents, Dean Miller, Dr. Bob Shoup, DVM and Lon Godwin made the preservation a main concern.
The Blue Whale and picnic areas were restored, but swimming is no longer allowed.
In 2002, Hampton Inn funded the “Land Marks” Program for major renovation of the restrooms, fence and grounds.
After Z. Davis’ death in 2001, the Blue Whale Complex was to be provided free of charge to the public, by the Davis children, grandchildren and friends of the Blue Whale. The Route 66 icon is located off Highway Route 66 in Catoosa, Okla. For more information, visit www.bluewhaleroute66.com.