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'Absolutely beloved’: Calif. desert town preserves garish neon sign


In the middle of Rancho Mirage, an affluent California desert community best known as an old Hollywood retreat (Frank Sinatra lived there, as did Bing Crosby and Lucille Ball) just east of Palm Springs, is a pastel pink sign in the shape of an elephant. It wears a tiny hat while taking a bath using its trunk.


The sign captures even more attention as it gets dark. Neon blue, red and green lights up to read: “Rancho Super Car Wash.”


What could otherwise be an eyesore for a town that’s home to American presidents and Hollywood celebrities is actually adored by the community — so much so that it’s now earned historical designation.


On Sept. 7, 2023, the Rancho Mirage City Council unanimously voted to enshrine the Elephant Car Wash sign in perpetuity.



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