29/02/2024 5:32 PM

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Pink Elephant Car Wash sign to be considered for landmark status


SEATTLE — A neon sign that is as iconic in Seattle as the Space Needle, got its first step toward becoming a historical landmark.

The City of Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board voted Wednesday to approve the nomination application to consider the Pink Elephant Car Wash sign as an official landmark.

The sign is from the original Pink Elephant Car Wash that was built near 6th and Battery in 1956. There are two signs from the location; a larger one was given to Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry. A second, smaller one that was donated to Amazon, is being considered for landmark status.

Beatrice Haverfield designed the signs for the car wash, as well as the neon signs for other Seattle institutions like Ivar’s and Dick’s.

Haverfield’s daughter, Kathleen Wolff, told KING 5 she can only imagine what her mother would think about her professional work being considered a piece of history.

“Just the whole story of my mom, more than the sign, getting the acknowledgment of how awesome she was, for the time that she was doing what she did,” Wolff said.

In 2020, the sign was donated to Amazon, which is overseeing the sign’s future with the help of BOLA Architecture + Planning. The sign is currently being restored by Western Neon in SoDo. 

A presentation from an Amazon representative and architect Susan Boyle said a potential new location for the sign, should it become a landmark, may be on 7th and Blanchard. The public would be able to view it, according to the reps.

Other remnants of the car wash chain are still around, like the location on 4th Avenue in SoDo. But the hope is to keep the 66-year-old original alive.

“We see that sign and we think the same thing. We say hi, mom,” Wolff said.

The next public meeting regarding the next steps in the signs acquiring landmark status is scheduled for August 17.


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