Sign of the Times

Casa Grande will soon illuminate the city’s history with a new downtown park featuring its orphaned commercial signs.
Casa Grande’s new park is a gas – neon gas, specifically.

At twilight, its elements flicker to life and create a buzz that lasts all evening. Bearing names both evocative (“Sunset Court”) and pedestrian (“Goddard Shoe Store”), they glow in the darkness as if drawn with a magical luminous pen. Burning brightly in the night, the neon signs that formerly promoted businesses in the once booming mining and farming town south of the Valley have found a second career as objets d’art in the Neon and Vintage Sign Park.

The luminous relics are mostly products of the post-World War II economic boom. Their designs, which capture the period’s unbridled optimism, have received acclaim as American folk art. But when their mom and pop businesses closed, these orphaned signs lost their purpose, and almost their existence. Casa Grande, not wanting to lose the sense of place created by these landmarks, set out to preserve them in a vintage sign park.

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