It’s been said that Seattleites will exaggerate about how much it rains in order to deter visitors from moving to their emerald city. The “rain” part is a bit exaggerated, because while it does get a lot of overcast skies, in reality it has fewer inches of annual rainfall than New York City, Houston Texas and dozens of other U.S. cities. Rain or shine, there is a multitude of photogenic scenes to be found in the City of Seattle. Pike Place Market, the majestic views of Mount Rainier, and the Great Wheel to name just a few. However, Seattle’s most photographed landmark is… NOT the Space Needle, as many would have first guessed. So what is it that can outshine the allure of Seattle’s defining landmark and draw shutterbugs away? How about a rotating pink neon elephant! The whimsical elephant sign of the Elephant Super Car Wash located at the corner of Battery Street and Seventh Avenue–literally a block or two from the Space Needle–takes the prize.
Three brothers Archie, Dean and Eldon Anderson invented an automatic-hands free car wash and in the mid-1950s they opened this location- their second. Only six years later, the Space Needle would become the pink elephant’s neighbor. Pink elephants now grace eight Elephant Car Wash locations in Seattle and more locations exist in Eastern Washington, Arkansas and California. According to the company’s website, the landmark Battery Street location has been visited by sports figures, celebrities and notable politicians. It’s rumored that Elvis stopped by to get his Cadillac cleaned while filming “It Happened at the World’s Fair.” Probably the most photographed car wash sign in the country, people come from all over and have their photo taken in front of it.
But…why? In Seattle, there is a fondness for the fun and the quirky and who can't resist a happy elephant made out of hot pink neon bathing itself! It is really hard to not smile when you drive past this gigantic twirling neon sign.
Interesting factoid: the rotating motor inside stops if the wind blows very hard.