Whatever happened to the Arborland Whale? It swam to Pinckney

Children play on the Arborland Whale back in the day. The Whale was a fixture at the Arborland Mall for years.
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For any kid who grew up in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area in the 1960s and ‘70s, it’s the most iconic sculpture of all time – the Arborland Whale.

The granite sculpture took up residence at the Arborland Mall for decades, and it was the rare piece of artwork that you could play on. Every child who grew up in Washtenaw County – including yours truly – remembers playing on the Arborland Whale.

When the open-air mall was renovated in the 1980s, though, the Whale was removed. So, whatever happened to the Arborland Whale?

It swam upstream to Pinckney.

The Arborland Whale at its home on Baseline Lake in Pinckney, where it’s been for the past few decades.

The Arborland Whale is doing just fine, thank you, and it’s now living at a residence on Baseline Lake in Putnam Township, just south of Pinckney. When the mall was renovated, one of the people working on the renovation asked if he could have it. He brought it home to Baseline Lake with him, and it’s been there for the past few decades.

If you want to see it, just take a boat ride on Baseline Lake this summer, and you’ll see it sitting in the yard right by the waterfront – looking exactly as it did in 1968.

About Buddy Moorehouse 84 Articles
Longtime Livingston County journalist Buddy Moorehouse is director of communications at the Michigan Association of Public School Academies.