Thursday, May 12, 2011

Future Fate of Iconic Neon?

The abundance or romance of national chains is nothing new to the valley. Just check out this vintage postcard.
[caption id="attachment_545" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Vintage postcard of National chains in Downtown Phoenix, Ariz"][/caption]
The buildings and signs have long ago been torn down. The case for preserving buildings is a strong one with many advocates, but what about signs? The Highway Beautification Act was enacted in 1965 that allowed the removal and heavily restricted the replacement of these highway gems. I could talk about the Diving Lady downed in an Oct, '10 storm. The first reaction of many is that sign couldn't go back up due to existing sign codes, but the city has agreed to let it go up, again. Here I am holding the last surviving piece of the original diving lady.
[caption id="attachment_551" align="alignright" width="139" caption="Marshall Shore with the last surviving neon from the Mesa, Ariz Diving Lady."][/caption]
What if an iconic sign has lost it's relevancy through a business closing does the sign still have a place in our cultural fabric? I would argue yes, but no one who knows me would be surprised by that. Which bring us to the point of this post. [caption id="attachment_548" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="My Florist sign at 7th Ave and McDowell, Phoenix Ariz"][/caption]My Florist sign on 7th Ave and McDowell is in jeopardy. Check out the history of My Florist. The firm of Lawrence and Geyser have had designs on the build and recently it has been rumored to be the future home of a Paradise Bakery and the retro inspired logo'd chain of In and Out Burger.[caption id="attachment_546" align="aligncenter" width="499" caption="Lawrence and Geyser art work for the NE corner of 7th Ave and McDowell development."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_571" align="alignright" width="300" caption="NE corner of 7th Ave and McDowell, Phoenix, Ariz"][/caption]The caveat is that on the website the art work of the My Florist sign, not only remains dark, but is missing altogether from the current renderings. When contacted via mail they was no response about the future fate of the lovely purple beacon of the Willo. Is the sign worth saving? I say yes, but I am only one voice. How should we go about saving the sign as a part of Americana? This summer in Tucson is the Arizona Historic Preservation Conference where Friday late afternoon is a presentation where we about Tucson and Mesa efforts to save [caption id="attachment_569" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="100% upcycled t-shirt created by Marshall Shore: Retro Spectacular"][/caption]classic neon. Let's hear from you if you think that the neon My Florist is worth saving!

Here is T-Shirt that I designed and is available at ecOcentrictity andZinnias at Melrose.


  1. I'd be sad to lose the My Florist sign--I passed by it almost every day when Ron & I lived in the Willo.

  2. I think the sign is worth saving. My husband has a long history with the city of Phoenix. One of the few native Phoenicians. A while back, he took me down off Grand Ave and West Filmore street he showed me an old neon sign. He told me that is where is Grandfather started his first radiator shop. It was called the "Smith Radiator Exchange". We stood there and just stared at it in the early quiet Sunday morning. One side has faded ober the years of the AZ sunshine. The other side is in better shape. I'll have to send you a picture. You would appreciate it. Keep up the great work.