A Blast into the Past: Tour Mesa’s Historic Neon Signs

Looking for a fun way to take a nostalgic trip back in time? A drive down Main Street in Mesa is well worth the effort, either by day or night. From the 1940s through the 1970s, neon signs lined Main Street (federal highways 60, 70, 80 and 89) beckoning travelers into restaurants, motels, bars and retail shops.

From Buckhorn Baths on the east side (you can still see the old bath houses), to the Kiva Motel in central Mesa, to Watson’s Flowers on the west end, you’ll be transported back in time imagining motorists as the traveled west before the Valley freeways took over.

One of the most-loved signs is known affectionately as the Diving Lady – the last remaining animated neon sign in the Valley, located at Lindsay Road and Main Street. The sign has swimming suit-clad female figures plunging into a pool of blue neon water. The Mesa Preservation Foundation redid the sign after a storm in 2010 destroyed it and now she can once again be seen diving into the pool.

Although some of the signs are showing their age and no longer light up completely, it’s worth the drive to see the colorful signs that lit up the city and served motorists for so many years.


•          Buckhorn Baths, Recker Road and Main Street

•          Starlight Motel and Diving Lady, 2906 E. Main St.

•          Kiva Lodge Motes, 668 W. Main St.

•          The Ham Bone Sports Bar, 903 E. Main St.

Need background music for your tour? Although Main Street isn’t Route 66, this song fits the mood:
Get Your Kicks on Route 66. The lyrics say, “If you ever plan to motor west, travel my way, take the highway, that’s the best. Get your kicks on Route 66.” In 1946, the songwriter Bobby Troup and his wife drove across the country to Los Angeles. He wrote a song about traveling on Route 66. The song told people they could have fun (get their kicks) on Route 66. Nat King Cole recorded Troup’s song and it became a popular standard of the time.

So, if you’re looking for great displays of neon signs, mom-and-pop motels in the middle of nowhere, or kitschy Americana, enjoy a trip down Main Street in Mesa.

Interested in Mesa’s newest master-planned community or new homes in the East Valley? Sign up at http://cadenceaz.com/contact

Stay in Touch

    • *Required Fields
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.