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April 12, 2023

Conny the Whale’s tail removed; to be preserved as sculpture

Contributed Conny the Whale was built by volunteers with the Cetacean Society International in 1976.

A life-size replica of a sperm whale built by the Cetacean Society International (CSI) in 1976, which sat outside the West Hartford Children’s Museum for 50 years, was partially dismantled Tuesday.

Conny the Whale’s tail was hauled away on an oversize flatbed truck and will be installed on West Hartford’s Trout Brook Greenway, pending approval of permits, according to CSI, a non-profit whale conservation and advocacy organization.
CSI, which built the whale with volunteer labor, was inspired by the Connecticut General Assembly’s 1975 proclamation naming the sperm whale as the state animal because of its contribution to the state's history and its status as an endangered species.

Historically, it was the species most sought after by Connecticut whalers circling the globe on ships out of New London, Mystic and other Connecticut ports to bring back needed oil for lamps and other products, according to the Connecticut State Register & Manual.

The tail is being stored at West Hartford’s Public Works facility on Brixton Street until CSI receives town approval to relocate the sculpture. CSI experts to submit an application later this spring.

Continental Properties, which purchased the former Children’s Museum property, paid for the costs to remove and transport the tail. Continental is building a new multi-family development on the property.

CSI President Jessica Dickens said the original plan to move the 20-ton whale sculpture was too expensive and technically challenging.

“We believe that by installing Conny’s tail, as if diving away to explore the world’s oceans, on the Trout Brook Greenway, we will be able to continue to honor Conny’s legacy for generations to come, and inspire environmental awareness and action,” Dickens said.

Anyone who would like to make a donation toward the remaining costs of installing the tail may do so at CSI’s GoFundMe page:

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