Tucson Vintage Neon

Submitted by Michael Ely September 5th, 2010
Certifikitsch Winner

Back in the 1950’s and 60’s when the automobile was king, Tucson’s old road into town, Miracle Mile along with Oracle Road and Drachman Street were collectively know as the “Miracle Mile strip,” a strip all aglow with the neon signs of motor courts beckoning tourists with promises of swimming pools, lush courtyards, desert gardens and cheap steak dinners. Today, some of these wonderful old establishments are still in business while others stand abandoned and deteriorating. In recent years, there has been an effort by a group of Tucson citizens to save and preserve some of these old neon signs.

11 Responses to “Tucson Vintage Neon”

  1. denny

    I’m flying out on my next break from school! We have a place in Peoria, about 2 hours from you right? Actually, it’s a huge 5th wheeler sitting at an RV resort! I’ve never been to AZ but you are getting me motivated here!

    • Michael Ely

      Yes, Ghost Ranch is right off the 10. As I mentioned in a previous post, The Ghost Ranch Lodge went out of business and was left abandoned for a several years (there was even a fire which burned down the restaurant), then, just when it seemed all was lost, a developer came to the rescue and restored all the bungalows and the neon sign (which was designed by Georgia O’keefe) and turned the ranch into housing for seniors and low-income folks. Today it stands beautiful!

  2. k2dtw

    I’ve been waiting for the post.. The vintage neon is BEAUTIFUL..
    There really was a No-Tel Motel??…LOL LOVE The Flamingo.. What a great Ghost Ranch story, and I love reading about all involved w/the saving of the wonderful neon… so important…

    • Michael Ely

      The No-Tel Motel is still in business. I’m told that the rooms are clean and neat and the windows have all been painted black so that nobody can see in. In other words, what goes on at the No-Tel Motel stays at the No-Tel Motel!

  3. montereycourt

    Hello everyone,
    The Monterey Motel is now the Monterey Court Studio Galleries. It is being renovated into a new place in Tucson for food,art,retail and music. Check it out http://www.MontereyCourtAz.com. Come celebrate revitalization and have a look at the newly restored neon. Find us on Facebook for the most current pictures. We are having a Happy Birthday Tucson party at the Monterey on Aug 20 2011 at 7pm y’all are invited. We give tours every Tuesday morning at 8am while under construction. Plans are to open in September. We are pre-leasing the studio galleries now with great specials. Anybody ready to open up a Kitschenette store? See the website for rental info…AFFORDABLE. One last thing. Tonight June 28th the mayor and council passed a historic sign code ordinance. Viva neon! Kudos to the committee and many others in Tucson for a 2 year effort. Kindest Regards, Dar Dobroslavic, co-owner/agent. 520-248-9576