UPDATED SEPTEMBER 2019
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!
With the opening of the Neon Sign Park on April 13, 2019 more visitors are being attracted to our Downtown Arts and Culture District. The iconic signs in the park will preserve Casa Grande’s mid-century history for years to come. 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.
- Click here to read the Neon Sign Park supplement to learn all about the sign history and the events leading up to the park’s opening April 13, 2019
- Click here to visit the Neon Sign Park website provided by Casa Grande Main Street. On this site you can also support the park with a donation towards the ongoing maintenance.
- The City added the Neon Sign Park in their new version of the “Casa Grande History Walk- Where it all Began” Visit http://historic.casagrandeaz.us
- Society For Commercial Archeology News published Casa Grande Neon and the Neon Sign Park in two issues of SCA Road Notes magazine (Fall 2016 and Winter 2017) Articles by Douglas C. Towne
- Phoenix Magazine, May 2018 issue (“Sign of the Times” article by Douglas C. Towne) featured our upcoming Neon Sign Park
- Arizona Contractor & Community magazine Nov-Dec 2018 featured Casa Grande and the upcoming sign park (articles by Douglas C. Towne)
- Arizona Highways TV will feature the Neon Sign Park and other points of interest in Casa Grande in the fall of 2019
- Arizona Highways magazine will feature the Neon Sign Park in their February 2020 issue
- The Neon Sign Park has been published in a national magazine, “Signs of the Times”, June 2019 issue
- A presentation on the Neon Sign Park was given at the Society for Commercial Archeology – Road Notes conference at The Dells, Wisconsin in June of 2019
- A presentation on the Neon Sign Park was given at the Arizona Preservation Conference held in Prescott, AZ in June of 2019
- In July 2019 the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Saving Places.org , featured the Neon Sign Park
- Arizona Public Service July 2019 newsletter reaching 1.2 million customers suggested a visit to Casa Grande to see the Neon Sign Park
- The Neon Sign Park was published in the Late Summer edition of the Golden Corridor Living magazine
- The new 2019 Pinal County Tourism Map features the Neon Sign Park and The Museum of Casa Grande for things to do while in Casa Grande
- The Greater Casa Grande Chamber of Commerce Business Update for July posted photos, with front page recognition, celebrating the July 17th installation of the park’s gateway signage on Florence Boulevard
- The Neon Sign Park received an “Arizona Great Place” award on September 12, 2019 at the Arizona Planning Association 2019 Conference.
The City of Casa Grande Historic Preservation Commission and Casa Grande Main Street have been partners from inception to completion of the Neon Sign Park. Without community support by way of voting in the Partners in Preservation contest, in-kind services before and during construction, contributors to “Make You Mark” (plaques, pavers, license plates and benches) this project could not have been possible in such a short time frame.
The park is open every day until 11 pm for everyone’s enjoyment. Casa Grande Main Street, a 501(c)3 is responsible for the ongoing maintenance of the park. Contributions can be made to the Casa Grande Main Street office or online at neonsignpark.com