NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) — Tim O'Brien has had a long love affair with weird stuff.
It makes sense, as he worked for Ripley's Believe It or Not for 12 years, while stopping and taking pictures of roadside attractions that caught his eye all the while.
The fun thing about the oddities on the roadside is that they probably are not in front of the business that they were originally," said O'Brien. "So one thing that I really enjoy are the pink elephants. And originally, you know, if you see the pink elephant that means you’re hallucinating from overuse of alcohol, basically.
O’ Brien believes there are only 30 pink elephants left in the United States.
The Midsouth has more than one.
O'Brien has great photos of all of them, and they all seem to have a story.
One example is the pink elephant out front of Favorite Lotto in Guthrie, Kentucky.
“It is like a landmark people know" says store manager Vicky Vengali. "This town, the Guthrie, they call it the elephant. Like, if anybody wants to go anywhere, go to the pink elephant, take a right or left or whatever."
Jim Baggett owns 112 antique mall in Cross Plains.
Everything in his store is for sale, and that almost cost him his pink elephant.
“I priced it for $10,000 and one day this guy, and I’m like oh my goodness he is fixing to buy my elephant," says Baggett. "But I’ve done priced it. I got to sell it. And then he didn’t. And I’ve never priced it since because I’m scared. Not for sale? Not for sale."
Nashville has two pink elephants: Pinky out front of University Motors on Charlotte Pike. It has sunglasses and an easel, which shows how each pink elephant is nuanced.
The other one is the pink elephant at the now closed Europa Mini-Golf and Go-Karts.
O’ Brien is worried this pink elephant is on the endangered species list.
“And I say he’s endangered because that property has ben sold," he says. "It’s been for sale for many many years, a big apartment building just came in across the street. And that whole area is going to be redeveloped. So I think at any time, if we don’t get out there and save it, it could be bulldozed. And that would be a travesty."
One of the Crocs founders lives in Bellevue and has put together a front yard menagerie with dinosaurs, jungle cats, and even a Shoney's big boy.
A pink elephant could potentially fit there too.
“...and he’s very, very much into this roadside stuff," says O'Brien. "So this would be great if we could get through to him and have him say, "I’ll take it." Then once he says I’ll take it, we have to see if we can get it."
The endangerment of the pink elephant is why some say Nashville has lost much of its quirky past.
“I think there’s right now, there’s a turning point, people are saying, wait, hold it , timeout," O'Brien adds. "The city is becoming too new. Let’s stay with our heritage. Let’s get in there, let’s save some of this old stuff."
O’ Brien has sent a letter to Mr. Boedecker in Bellevue asking him if is interested in the pink elephant in limbo.
Stay with FOX 17 News for continued updates on the pink elephant saga.
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