UNDER THE NEON STARS fundraiser will be held at historic Hotel Congress’s rooftop April 30. Vibrant neon signs once set historic Tucson aglow and they will again. Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to preserving Tucson’s architectural heritage, seeks to raise $30,000 to restore the neon signs salvaged from Magic Carpet Golf, Medina Sporting Goods and the Arizonan Motel. The cost is about $10,000 to refurbish and reinstall each sign. EVENT IS NOW SOLD OUT AS OF 4/22/2010!
As many of us that live in Tucson realize, numerous city icons are slowly disappearing. The very places that gave Tucson its uniqueness have been rapidly replaced with new “stuff” that looks just like new stuff anywhere. With this event, some of our uniqueness will be saved for future generations. The neon signs to be refurbished are classic examples of 50s and 60s nostalgic Americana.
“These signs are part of the character of our city,” said Demion Clinco, President of the foundation. “They were a roadside expression of Tucson’s thriving mid-century modern past. The flickering nocturnal environment attracted people from the highway into Tucson, and restoring these signs could lead to the revitalization of this gateway corridor to Downtown,” he said.
The Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation’s mission is to preserve the city’s unique architectural environment. The non-profit advocates for the preservation of Tucson’s architectural resources and is working to preserve the Marist College and the Matus-Meza house in the old Pasqua neighborhood. The organization continually advocates for historic preservation in Tucson and the surrounding area.
Throughout the middle of the 20th century, Miracle Mile, Oracle Road, and Drachman Street were together known as Tucson’s “Miracle Mile Strip.” This was the northern segment of Tucson’s primary automotive corridor: the vehicular route into the city from the North, a crossroads for those traversing the nation on Routes 80 and 89, and an economic arterial that fostered development in several regionally popular architectural styles. For many, this defined their Tucson experience; for others, it shaped their first impression of the Old Pueblo. Swimming pools, flickering neon and lush grassy courtyards welcomed visitors to motels with names like La Siesta, El Rey, Frontier, and El Rancho. Restaurants served steak and music for under $2.00.
Today, these iconic buildings and glowing signs have emerged from history to provide a persistent reminder of the continuing American fascination with the Automobile, and to enhance our society’s understating of the mythic 20th century West. Classic neon signs still evoke an era of fast cars and a slower pace of life. These wonderful examples of mid-20th century commercial art are an evocative night experience.
Under the Neon Stars event will offer a rare occasion to savor historic Tucson.
The event will begin with a rare opportunity for cocktails and live jazz music at sunset on the rooftop of the historic Hotel Congress. The event will offer the chance for guests to be photographed in front of the iconic Hotel Congress neon sign, a true part of Tucson history. Dinner in the Copper Room, a silent auction and an exhibition by artists Lucy Masterman and Dirk Arnold will conclude the evening. Nostalgic attire is optional.
Tickets are $125 each, and seating is limited. They can be purchased online at preservetucson.org or by contacting the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation at 520-392-1086
**** EVENT IS SOLD OUT AS OF 4/22/2010!!!!!******