The Blue Whale of Catoosa was once an endangered species.

The 80-foot installation has been housed in a pond along old Route 66 since 1972 and has been a popular stopping point for swimmers and sightseers traveling the historic highway. It was built by Hugh Davis, who served as director of the Tulsa Zoo for 38 years.

But things began to deteriorate after Hugh died in 1990. Neglect, weeds and vandalism took their toll.

By 1995, though, Hugh’s son joined forces with a group of local volunteers to save the whale. Today, the Blue Whale of Catoosa, a town near Tulsa, plays a starring role in Oklahoma’s tourism industry and, though one-of-a-kind, it's no longer in danger of extinction.