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Saving the Pink Elephant: Nonprofit Preservation Mirage Works to Restore an Important Part of Rancho Mirage’s History

Seeing “pink elephants” is a euphemism for drunken hallucinations—but people driving down Highway 111 through Rancho Mirage have been seeing a pink elephant for decades, without having touched a drop.

The pachyderm in question is the iconic sign for the Elephant Car Wash, at 71490 Highway 111, which for 60 years has been a tourist-photo magnet. However, the sign—originally designed by Beatrice Haverfield, known as the “Queen of Neon”—has been starting to show its age, and is now the subject of a restoration effort.

“The color is fading. It’s peeling off; there are holes in it; the facade is not watertight,” said Nathan Jacroux, treasurer of the nonprofit group Preservation Mirage. “It will be restored to its original bright pink color, which we tracked down, and neon tubing. We need to raise approximately $40,000.”


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