Route 66 Catoosa Blue Whale Struck By Vandals
Brandi Ball, NewsOn6.com
CATOOSA, Oklahoma -- A popular Route 66 roadside attraction has been the target of vandalism.
Vandals wrote what is believed to be their names on the cultural icon, which was built in 1972, and Catoosa police are investigating. Police are not releasing photos of the graffiti because they feel it will hinder the investigation.
It is unknown when the act occurred, but a member of the Catoosa Arts and Tourism Society/Fins of the Blue Whale took to Twitter Saturday afternoon to address the situation.
"I'm kinda sad....some vandals have defaced my new paint job. I don't know why people feel the need to do that, I'm just so disappointed."
The group later released a statement to News On 6.
"Although the vandalism done to me was not with paint, vulgar or costly, the bigger issue is the act of vandalism, not the content or application. Mistreatment to any property other than your own is disrespectful. I'm simply disappointed that this type of behavior is measured. It is not levels on a scale of 1 to 10, it is all bad form. I forgive the vandals, I just wish there was nothing to forgive them for," the statement said.
The organization also said the recent vandalism isn't a new thing. After Christmas, it had to remove the donation box because of frequent break-ins and damage.
"People have always written inside [the] snot pocket ...We never say anything about it," a spokesperson for the arts and tourism society said. "This is overt."
The attraction was repainted just months ago. In September 2011, the whale received facelift due to a donation of time, money and man-power, courtesy of The Bill Haynes Company of Tulsa.
The Blue Whale was originally part of a children's zoo on the property that nestles up to Route 66. In the '70s and '80s it was a popular swimming hole for kids and a rest stop for drivers making their way along the historic highway.
You can no longer swim there, but Davis says The Blue Whale hasn't lost its charm. Visitors still come here from all over the world to visit and take photos.
The Blue Whale, which was finished in 1972, is 80-feet long and 15-feet high.
It is privately owned and was built by curator Blaine Davis' father, who gave it to his wife as an anniversary present.