Blue Whale of Catoosa Celebrates 50th Birthday
KTUL-Tulsa - September 26, 2022 6:22 am
Catoosa Blue Whale
CATOOSA, Okla. — It was a big day for one Oklahoma’s most well known and loved Route 66 icons.
Fifty years ago, a man named Hugh Davis built the Blue Whale of Catoosa as an anniversary present for his beloved wife Zelta in 1972.
On Saturday, September 24, they cut the cake and celebrated a half a century of being Oklahoma’s most talked about roadside oddity.
It was built as a work of art, a work of love. Now, it’s loved the world over by the millions who have made the unforgettable drive down Route 66.
“He is one of the most iconic stops on Route 66.,” said Blue Whale Park Director Liz Huckleby. “People from all over the world come through here to come see him. To celebrate him for one day is a really exciting thing.”
Burgers were cooked, cake was cut, celebrating 50 years since Hugh Davis first showed his whale-loving wife Zelta the secret project he’d been working on for their anniversary.
“There’s a lot of people here who are locals and used to swim in this pond and how much fun it was, how they remember Hugh and Zelta,” Huckleby said. “I’ve heard a lot of people who grew up here and have a personal connection and are happy to be out here and to celebrate.”
In 50 years, the whale has had it’s ups and it’s downs.
“It’s just absolutely wonderful to see so many people come out here and support this old whale that for the 90’s when I was young, this was all overgrown,” said Oklahoma Route 66 Association President Rhys Martin. “You couldn’t come visit, and now to look at it you’d never know it went through that tribulation.”
On the guest list was Route 66 historian Michael Wallis.
Wallis said “It’s very important you’re all out here today, because we’re building up a head of steam now for 2026, which is the 100th year of the Mother Road and after 50 years, you can’t drive Route 66 without a stop at Catoosa’s one and only Blue Whale.”
The whale took two years to build. Hugh Davis mixed the cement himself when he wasn’t busy running the Tulsa Zoo.