The city of Catoosa, Oklahoma, in April purchased the Blue Whale and its surrounding 23 1/2 acres from its longtime owners, the Davis family.
Rhys Martin, president of the Oklahoma Route 66 Association, revealed the news during a blog post Sunday:
Since Catoosa has taken ownership of the land, there have been several improvements. The Whale itself has had a good cleaning. The bathrooms have been repaired. Much of the scrub brush has been removed and the walking path on the north side of the pond has been cleared.
Future plans include clearing a path around the south side of the pond and cleaning up the other walking trails through the woodland part of the property. The city plans to continue enhancing the area without negatively impacting the charm and integrity of what our Route 66 family knows and loves.
The gift shop remains open and staffed primarily by Linda Hobbs. All proceeds from the shop will continue to go to the Catoosa Arts & Tourism. Hugh and Zelta’s son, Blaine, has lived on the property off-and-on for the last eighteen years. Although he will no longer live on site, he plans to stay engaged with the Route 66 community.
Martin, writing on behalf of the association, stated “we stand ready to help ensure that this unique roadside attraction continues to welcome visitors for decades to come.”
According to the city’s minutes, it entered into a purchase agreement in January.
Rogers County property records state it was sold in March for $1.5 million.
Developments and happenings at the Blue Whale will be posted on its Facebook page.
Hugh Davis hand-made the Blue Whale out of concrete and shaped rebar about 1970 as an anniversary gift to his wife. The Blue Whale and its spring-fed pond became a popular swimming hole for locals and travelers along Route 66 alike.
It closed about 1988 and fell into disrepair until it was restored in the early 2000s. Hugh Davis’ son, Blaine, was the caretaker at the property for many years.
(Image of the Blue Whale of Catoosa, Oklahoma, by Ayleen Dority via Flickr)