Modern Phoenix Neighborhood Network

Neon Signs Illuminate Colorful Tucson Arizona

Savvy City Preserves its Neon Legacy

Neon Sign in Tucson Arizona
Throughout the middle of the 20th century, Miracle Mile, Oracle Road, and Drachman Street were together known as Tucson's "Miracle Mile Strip." This was the northern segment of Tucson's primary automotive corridor: the vehicular route into the city from the North, a crossroads for those traversing the nation on Routes 80 and 89, and an economic arterial that fostered development in several regionally popular architectural styles.
Neon Sign in Tucson Arizona Neon Sign in Tucson Arizona
For many, this defined their Tucson experience; for others, it shaped their first impression of the Old Pueblo. Swimming pools, flickering neon and lush grassy courtyards welcomed visitors to motels with names like La Siesta, El Rey, Frontier, and El Rancho. Restaurants served steak and music for under $2.00.
Neon Sign in Tucson Arizona
Today, these iconic buildings and glowing signs have emerged from history to provide a persistent reminder of the continuing American fascination with the Automobile, and to enhance our society's understating of the mythic 20th century West. Classic neon still signs evoke an era of fast cars and a slower pace of life. These wonderful examples of mid-20th century commercial art are an evocative night experience.
Neon Sign in Tucson Arizona Neon Sign in Tucson Arizona Neon Sign in Tucson Arizona Neon Sign in Tucson Arizona Neon Sign in Tucson Arizona Neon Sign in Tucson Arizona
Working in partnership with Pima Community College, THPF restored and reinstalled a series of historic neon signs along Drachman (between Stone Avenue and Oracle Road) along the alignment of Tucson's Mid-Century Modern highway: Historic Route 80 & 89 and State Route 84.   
Neon Sign in Tucson Arizona Neon Sign in Tucson Arizona
If you know of a Historic Tucson Sign that is in storage or in a backyard please contact the foundation at info@preservetucson.org
Neon Sign in Tucson Arizona Neon Sign in Tucson Arizona
The Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation, with support from the Arizona Humanities Council, also produced the Award Winning booklet: The Neon Pueblo: A Guide to Tucson's Midcentury Vintage Advertising.   Maps are for sale at various locations in the community or can be downloaded and printed out here so you may organize your own Tucson neon experience!

For you policy wonks, you can download the neon preservation feasability study here.

Neon Sign in Tucson Arizona
Photos ©2014 Modern Phoenix LLC. Story ©2014 Tucson Preservation Foundation.