It’s been a little over two years since the Casa Grande Historic Preservation Commission and Casa Grande Main Street partnered with an idea to have a downtown neon sign park. That partnership was formed after the Casa Grande Valley Newspapers Inc. agreed to provide the land for the site. Casa Grande Main Street was offered the opportunity to apply for the national “Partners in Preservation” grant late summer of 2017. The rest is history.
From September 25 through October 31, 2017, online voting by our community, friends, relatives, and supporters across the country gave us a second place win out of 25 cities across the United States!
Plans are underway for the “Casa Grande Neon Sign Park”. Historic signs that have been collected over the years will be restored and placed in the park for everyone to appreciate. The Museum of Casa Grande has made available on permanent loan such signs as the Arizona Edison, Gorriaz Photo Shop, Valley National Bank and Sacaton Hotel. The Route 66 Dairy Queen sign from Holbrook is the only “out of towner” which makes perfect sense since we already had the downtown Casa Grande Dairy Queen cones. For now, the Goddard Shoes and Horse Shoe Motel signs will round out the historic display.
The majority of our historic signs were originally located on Hwy. 84 which ties to the overall park theme. Casa Grande’s old Hwy. 84 is also remembered as the “Old Tucson Hwy.” or the “Gila Bend Hwy”. The highway was first designated in 1927 between Tucson and Picacho. In 1928 the highway was extended into Casa Grande and on to Gila Bend. The Hwy. 84 history was introduced in a Casa Grande Historic Preservation art display on a window at the Dispatch, located at the top of Top and Bottom Street, on December 15, 2016. On April 4, 2018, the Hwy. 84 History Trail mural located on the downtown Western Trading Post building was dedicated by Casa Grande Main Street. The first restored neon sign is included in the history of this mural. The Sunset Court sign was dedicated on October 13, 2017, by the Historic Preservation Commission.
The park is surrounded by our “Arts & Cultural District” which includes The Museum of Casa Grande, the Art Museum and BlackBox Theatre (located in the Woman’s Club) and footsteps away is our business district.
The 2018 Arizona Gives Day kicked off the momentum for our founder’s campaign or “Make Your Mark on the Neon Sign Park”. There are choices for your level of partnership. Please contact Casa Grande Main Street for more information on how you can participate.
Ground-breaking is scheduled for late summer and the park opening is anticipated in late 2018.