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Disasters & Accidents

Thar She Blows (Again)! Notorious Whale Incident Memorialized With Florence Park

ExplodingWhale04.jpg
City of Florence
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The coastal city of Florence has announced a name for its newest park, which references a literal blast from the past. KLCC’s Brian Bull reports on…”Exploding Whale Park.”

Yes, you heard that correctly, dear listener. “Exploding Whale Park”…because, exploding whale! 

It all started 50 years ago, when a dead sperm whale washed ashore in Florence. Locals wanted the rotting whale gone, prompting highway officials to blow it up with dynamite. KATU-TV covered the event, making for one of the most bizarre moments in broadcast history.

WhaleBoom.png
Credit KATU-TV/YouTube
In this vintage clip from KATU-TV, a sperm whale carcass explodes from a load of dynamite.

VIDEO CLIP: (LARGE BOOM, FOLLOWED BY OOHS, AAHS)

The whale didn’t disintegrate into fine bits as hoped, but rather big chunks that crushed a car, and thankfully nothing else.

Megan Messmer, City Project Manager for Florence, says when asked for suggestions, the community came in heavily for “Exploding Whale Park” (following several rounds of narrowing down 124 'unique' suggestions). 

“We’re just excited about our new park, it’s a beautiful place," she tells KLCC.

ExplodingWhale03.png
Credit City of Florence
A map showing the location of the new park (no, it's not on the original blast site)

"Hopefully we’ll have some extra info about the whale in the coming months.”

The new park opened in May 2019.  It’s along the Siuslaw River on the south side of Rhodendron Drive and is NOT on the site of the original explosion.

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