Neon Signs of Mesa
MPF involvement: developed a photographic inventory of neon signs for future consideration.
Until the Valley freeways took over as our major routes, Federal highways 60, 70, 80 and 89 ran along Main Street in Mesa, Apache Boulevard through Tempe, McDowell Road and Grand Avenue in Phoenix. Hundreds of colorful neon signs lined the roads beckoning travelers into motels, restaurants, bars, repair shops and retail establishments. While the use of neon signs are becoming somewhat obsolete, they are regarded as mid-century functional art that should be preserved.
Mesa has several remarkable historic neon signs from the 1940s through 1970s ranging from the Buckhorn Baths on the east side, to the Kiva Motel in central Mesa, and Watson’s Flowers on the west end. One of the most spectacular is known affectionately as the Diving Lady – the last remaining animated neon sign in the Valley.
Mesa native Paul Millet, founded of Paul Millet Sign Co. on Main St., Mesa, in the early 1950s. For nearly 50 years, Millet created many of glowing neon signs - letters and shapes - that lit up the City and made it an attraction for all.
Experience more of Mesa's Historic Neon Signs - click here to take the tour.