The Pink Elephant
1218 Leeland

The Pink Elephant was in business much longer than most Houston bars,
lasting (if you believe their ads) from September 1936 until December 1984, 48 years.

  

Above, note that this week the ad changes from
44 to 45 years, meaning they opened in August 1936


Exactly in what year the bar opened is subject to dispute....
and I'll devote some space to it.

I went to the U of H LGBT Special Collections area
and viewed the City Directories, for a lot of years.

The bar was not listed at all for 1936

It took some digging to find the first entry for Pink Elephant,
at 1115 Bell, in the 1945 volume. Note the prior year
shows 1115 Bell "vacant"

In 1946/47 it adds the owner name of WC Craft, and then Wm C Croft
Croft is repeated so is likely the correct spelling

there was no directory for 1950, and the 1951 volume adds "beer" to the description...so, no liquor

The 1955 volume changes owner name to Erin H Stanford,
who only had it for a year or two

for reasons unknown it was not listed in the 1956 volume
And Zollie J Abel becomes owner in 1957

Zollie got married in 1971, age 59; he was 45 when he bought the bar



Also important.....in 1956/1957 the bar moved a couple blocks to 1218 Leeland
where it remained until closing in 1984


I stopped that day's research at 1960


They made the local news.....1958 Raid

The first issue of The Albatross, 8/18/65, includes the Pink Elephant in its bar listings
This is the earliest mention of the bar in the gay press

Another Albatross mention in Fall 1968

And below, in the bar listings in the Nuntius, Nov 1972, and Contact, March 1974
It was not mentioned other than in the bar lists in Any of these publications, never in the
"gossip column or bar happings" areas, and they ran no ads

      

The above map shows the two locations for Pink Elephant,
moving from 1115 Bell to 1218 Leeland in 1955
Note, it was located very close to The Exile another long-running bar
1952 to 1986, and for the first two years of the Exile's existence
was only a block from the Pink Elephant

1968 & 1977 Damron's Listings


Ads & Articles

Below, from Ciao 1974 article, the only photo I've found of the Pink Elephant

Below, 1980 article including the Pink Elephant

above, earliest ad I found

below, new owners Mark Breedlove and Bill Smith

   

  

Above, note that this week the ad changes from
44 to 45 years, meaning they opened in August 1936

  

  

Above, last ad placed, 12/2/83.....no ads placed in 1984

As mentioned above, the play "Private Lives" was performed
in November 1983 in a new space next to the bar called
the Other Side, but it was same address
See This Page for more on the play

there were no ads placed in the TWT during 1984

This sure isn't as much history of the Pink Elephant as I would like,
so I would be delighted if you can provide me more, contact me

below taken by Brandon Wolf, when the closing was announced;
he said the sign was not neon, just illuminated with a pink light