"Little known but key..."


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The following article was written by Register-Guard coast reporter Larry Bacon on the 25th anniversary of the Exploding Whale. The article appeared in the Register-Guard on Sunday, November 12, 1995. Scans of the original are available by clicking on the thumbnails below. A transcription of the article is also provided.

Little known but key data

Thursday, February 14, 2002

The Register-Guard

It’s Oregon’s birthday — we’re 143 today — so I’m celebrating by recognizing Obscure Oregonians Whom We Mustn’t Forget (If We Ever Knew of Them to Begin With):


  • Walter Umenhofer, the guy in Florence whose car was crushed by blubber from an exploding whale in 1970.When a 45-foot dead — and very smelly — whale washed ashore south of Florence, the state Highway Division decided the practical thing to do was blow it up with dynamite. Umennhofer, who lived in Springfield at the time, didn’t find their solution all that practical. A 3-foot piece of whale meat crashed through the roof of his brand new Oldsmobile Regency 98, assuring that his obscurity over the years would be interrupted by media folks still fascinated by flying whale blubber.

Exploring the deep questions

February 17, 2002

The Register-Guard

Time for a midwinter’s day delving into the questions that confound us, such as:


Q. Any way of seeing that exploding whale you referred to in Thursday’s column?

A. Sure, check out the film footage on the following Web site: www.hackstadt.com/features/whale/1

© 2002 Register-Guard


  1. The URL cited by Welch is no longer valid. It appears as it did in the article, but it links to the new address for this website.