The legendary story involves a dead whale, a half ton of dynamite, and bits of blubber falling from the sky.
It was back in November of 1970 when a dead whale washed ashore on a beach near Florence, Oregon. Unable to find a use for it, and unsure how best to dispose of it, the Department of Transportation decided it was going to blow it up.
The Oregon Highway Division not only had a whale of a problem on its hands, but a stinky whale of a problem: What to do with one 45-foot, 8-ton whale, dead on arrival on the beach near Florence.
It had been so long since a whale had washed up in Lane County, that no one could remember how to get rid of one.
In selecting its battle plan, the Highway Division decided the carcass couldn't be buried because it might be uncovered, it couldn't be cut up and then buried because no one wanted to cut it up, and it couldn't be burned, so dynamite it was -- some 20 cases, or a half ton of it.
Anything left over, officials reasoned, would be taken care of by seagulls and other scavengers.
And so, with dozens of bystanders watching from a distance, the DOT lit off the dynamite, sending thousands of whale blubber and bits skyward.
Of course, they forgot an important law of gravity: What goes up, must come down.
Sure enough, a few moments later, it was raining whale blubber. And not just tiny bits, but huge chunks. One huge chunk landed on a parked car over a quarter mile away, destroying its roof. Fortunately, no one was injured, but everyone was covered with bits and pieces of dead whale.
Needless to say, Oregon has not blown up a whale since.
For More Information:
Funny Man Dave Barry has written an article on the exploding whale that helped the story gain notoriety outside the Northwest. You can read his column here