Iconic Elephant Car Wash sign becomes official Seattle landmark

Jul 9, 2022, 8:13 AM | Updated: 12:20 pm
The small pink elephant sign, shown in its original habitat in February 2020. (Feliks Banel/KIRO Ne...
The small pink elephant sign, shown in its original habitat in February 2020. (Feliks Banel/KIRO Newsradio)
(Feliks Banel/KIRO Newsradio)

Members at the Landmarks Preservation Board in Seattle on Wednesday agreed to give the iconic Elephant Car Wash sign landmark status, the city announced.

The scheduled meeting, set for Aug. 17, will decide where it’ll be located for public view.

The pink sign, which is the smaller of two signs originally installed at the now-closed car wash near Battery Street and Denny Way in 1956, is undergoing restoration at Western Neon in SODO.

Seattle Elephant Car Wash sign packs its trunk and leaves

Amazon has ownership rights to the piece and will steward it in the future in alignment with what happens between the landmark process and the ownership meeting, Dean Allsop, manager of community engagement for the Puget Sound region at Amazon, said in the meeting.

The company’s goal is to make sure the pink elephant sign is a piece of publicly available art and has public benefit tied with it, Allsop said.

The second sign that was at the site, the larger of the two, went to the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI).

It will also be done at Western Neon pending its restoration, the board said.

“This sign is beloved by many people … it’s also something far more serious,” Susan Boyle, BOLA Architecture and Planning, said in the meeting.

“Because the sign itself relates so strongly to American culture, American culture of the roadside, the American culture that kind of gave rise to rock and roll and jazz.”

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Iconic Elephant Car Wash sign becomes official Seattle landmark