Tucson Signs (page 2)

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Tropicana Motor Hotel
Tucson, AZ
The Tropicana Motor Hotel sign was built in 1960. The motel was demolished in 2004 and the sign was nearly scrapped. The sign was restored in 2011 and is part of the Neon Art Walk on Drachman St. This collection of restored signs also includes the Magic Carpet Golf, Arizonan Motel, and Medina's Sporting Goods signs described below. For more, see these websites: 1 and 2. [map]

Magic Carpet Golf
Tucson, AZ
The Magic Carpet Golf sign originally stood at a mini golf course. The sign was designed by Lee Koplin and built in 1971. The sign originally had chasing and flashing bulbs. It was later updated with neon. The genie was inspired by the Joyva Candy logo. Magic Carpet Golf closed in 2008 and the sign was put in storage. It was restored in 2012 and is part of the Neon Art Walk. [map]

Arizonan Motel
Tucson, AZ
The first photo above of the Arizonan Motel is from 2004. The sign was removed in 2010. In 2012, it was restored and installed at the Neon Art Walk. The sign originally advertised for the Canyon State Motor Lodge when it was built in 1951. The sign was reworked in the 1970s when the name was changed to the Arizonan Motel. During the sign's restoration, both identities were recreated on opposite faces of the sign. For more, see these websites: 1 and 2. [map]

Medina's Sporting Goods
Tucson, AZ
The Medina's Sporting Goods sign was built in 1956 and installed on the store's roof. The building was demolished in 2009 and the sign was saved. It was restored in 2011 and is part of the Neon Art Walk. For more, see this website. [map]

Pueblo Hotel & Apartments
Tucson, AZ


The Pueblo Hotel & Apartments sign was originally installed around 1948 with just the text sign. The upper part of the sign with the diving woman was added in 1955 when the hotel's pool was built. The hotel closed in 1984 but the sign remained despite its broken neon and peeling paint. The sign had been dark since at least 1974. When the law firm of Piccaretta Davis bought the building in 1991, the owners wanted to restore the sign. However, Tucson's sign code prevented that from happening until it was revised in 2011. The sign was restored in 2012 at a cost of about $25,000. More than 200 feet of white and aqua neon was used for the sign panels. Some guesswork was necessary despite the best efforts of the sign shop to replicate the original sign. No vintage photos or documentation or the sign's original wording or color scheme could be found. It is unknown whether the diving woman wore a one or two piece bathing suit when the sign was built. The law firm decided to depict her in a polka-dot bikini. The horizontal panel that read "Refrigerated" now reads "Piccaretta Davis". The new sign code allows for minor adaptive changes. [map]

Golden Pin Lanes
Tucson, AZ
The Golden Pin Lanes opened in 1974. The plastic sign is probably from then. I don't know if the building and its ball and pin sign were built earlier. [map]

Sparkle Cleaners
Tucson, AZ
2012: 2017:
The Sparkle Cleaners building and sign are from 1955 when this business was known as the Wash Well Drive-in Cleaners. Sparkle Cleaners moved here in 1967. In 2013, the sign was restored and relit. For more, see these websites: 1 and 2. [map]

Empire Foods
Tucson, AZ
2012: 2017:
Empire Laundry & Buffet Bar


The Empire Foods supermarket sign is from 1933. It originally advertised for Joe W. Tang's Market. It became Empire Foods around 1957. The Empire Foods, Empire Laundry, and Buffet Bar signs were restored and relit in 2014. For more, see these websites: 1, 2, 3, and 4. [map]

Caruso's Restaurant
Tucson, AZ
2012: 2017:
Caruso's Restaurant was established in 1938. This sign is believed to be from the early 1950s. In recent years, the sign's neon was only partially lit and the paint was peeling badly. The sign was restored in 2013. A grant from the Fourth Avenue Merchants Association covered about one-sixth of the cost. Due to city regulations, the sign had to be repaired on-site. The sign is about 15 feet tall and is lit with the original orange, cream, white, red, green and peach neon. The chef's hand raises a forkful of spaghetti in two-part animation. For more, see this website. [map]

Bay Horse Tavern
Tucson, AZ
Henry Electric
Tucson, AZ
El Con Mall
Tucson, AZ
The Bay Horse Tavern sign is from 1960. It had neon originally. It was repainted sometime after 2009. [map]

Henry Electric was established in 1935. The top part of this sign was built in 1925 when it advertised for Lester Pepper Grocery. The sign most likely had neon originally. By 2002, the building had been converted into the Henry Electric Apartments. This photo is from 2012. The sign is now partly obscured by a tree. [map]

El Con Mall sign was built in 1962. It was removed in 1999 and put in storage at the back of the mall. In 2012, the sign was restored and reinstalled. The sign is 45 feet tall including the conquistador's spear. For more, see this website. [map]

Western Motel
Tucson, AZ
Ye Olde Lantern
Tucson, AZ
The Western Motel sign is probably from the 1950s. For more, see this website. [map]

The Ye Olde Lantern opened in 1924 as the Green Lantern. This sign was probably built in the 1950s. The restaurant was renamed the Ye Olde Lantern in 1959. It closed in 2006. The sign was saved by Dirk Arnold who displays the parts of the sign in his yard. The original wording of "The Green" is visible behind the paint which had been obscured by the channel neon letters which are missing now. For more, see these websites: 1, 2, and 3. [map]

Sue's Fish & Chips
Tucson, AZ
Valencia Market
Tucson, AZ
Wayward Winds Lodge
Tucson, AZ
Thunderbird Curios
Tucson, AZ
Sue's Fish & Chips started out with a trailer in 1952. They opened a restaurant about a year later. This sign might be from then. For more, see this website. [map]

The Valencia Market sign appears to be from the 1940s or 1950s. [map]

The Wayward Winds Lodge was built in 1958. This sign may be from then. It had been painted over and missing its channel letters and neon for many years. The sign was restored and relit in 2013. For more, see this website. [map]

The Thunderbird Curios shop was located downtown next door to the Fox Theatre. This sign was built in 1937. I don't know when it was removed but I don't believe it was up in the mid-1960s. The sign was restored in 2015 by the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation's Neon Sign Project. The black panels are original. The sign is on display inside the Joel D. Valdez Main Library. For more, see this website.

Silver Saddle
Steak House
Tucson, AZ
Downtown Motor Hotel
Tucson, AZ
Sahara Apartments
Tucson, AZ
The Silver Saddle Steak House sign originally advertised for the Pickwick Inn Coffee Shop. The sign has been here since at least the 1960s. For more, see this website. [map]

The Downtown Motor Hotel opened in 1941. This sign was built around 1953. There was an earlier another sign before this one. In 2016, the motel was demolished and replaced with an apartment building. The sign and office below it were kept and restored. The AAA logo and "Air Conditioned" text were kept on the sign's main panel. The small white plastic panels were changed from "Telephones" and "Television" to the words "Leasing Office" and the address. For more, see this website. [map]

The Sahara Apartments was built as the Tidelands Motor Inn in 1960. This sign is from then. The letters on the sign were replaced in 1975 when the motel became the Sahara Motor Inn. In 2003, the motel was converted into apartments for University of Arizona students. The "Motor Inn" letters were replaced then. For more, see this website. [1965 scan thanks Steve Quintanilla]. [map]

Flamingo Hotel
Tucson, AZ
2012: 2017:
The Flamingo Hotel opened in 1954. This sign was built in 1963. The "Hotel" panels were yellow then. Since at least 2011, the hotel has been part of the Quality Inn chain. By 2015, the "Flamingo" panel had been repainted a dull grey. By 2016, the panel at the very top was replaced with a Quality Inn logo. For more, see these websites: 1, 2, and 3. [map]

Tucson Inn Motor Hotel
Tucson, AZ
The Tucson Inn was built in 1953. This sign was added shortly after that. The motel closed in 2016. In 2018, the motel was purchased by Pima Community College. The sign will remain and be restored. For more, see this website. [map]

More Tucson Signs:
Hacienda Motel
Hoop Dancer [in storage]
Linger Longer Court [vintage; gone]
Mario's Pizza
San Carlos Apartments
Vince's Restaurant [vintage; gone]

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