From "Roadside Americana":
"Hugh Davis originally built this happy beast as an aniversary present for his wife. The 80-foot smiling cement whale attracted so much attention on Route 66 that it became the showpiece for a reptile zoo and swimming hole operated by Davis until shortly before his death. The community has since rallied around the landmark, refurbishing it and applying thousands of gallons of blue paint in the process."
Links: www.roadsideamerica.com, en.wikipedia.org