if you have not read Part I of our Neon Signs Story, please start here.
Driving south on Oracle and turning left onto Drachman, you quickly see several mid-20th century motor courts. All are long past their prime. However, some of their old neon signs have been refurbished and shine brightly into the night sky.
Tucson Inn, build between 1952 & ’55, originally consisted of two concentric U-shaped two-story buildings. The outer ring was demolished years ago, but the inner ring remains and continues to serve travelers.
For 40 years, the now-defunct Magic Carpet Miniature Golf Course was, until 2008, located on East Speedway Blvd. It was home to an array of mammoth statues created by artist Lee Koplin in the 1970s.
Made of rebar & concrete, these characters, weighing tons and reaching as much as 18 feet in height, have since been re-located to many parts of Tucson. Most went to Valley of the Moon.
The 17-foot tall monkey has gone to the Dunbar Springs section of town. The ant has made its way to the Sam Hughes neighborhood. The bull ended up at O’Shaughnessy’s Steakhouse (now closed). The 50,000-pound Tiki Head sits at The Hut, a nightclub at 305 N. Fourth Ave.
However, some of the statues found a home at various private residences. Chris Muklebust, the owner of Ridgepoint Electric, bought the Kachina and keeps it at his home.
On Drachman, along with the Magic Carpet Golf sign, there are several others reminiscent of bygone days, but on the night we were out photographing, these were not lit.
Turning south from Drachman onto North Stone, the Flamingo Hotel neon comes into view. Of the remaining motor courts along the old Miracle Mile Strip, this is one of the better places for a night’s stay.
North Stone Avenue takes travelers into Downtown and out the other side where it becomes 6th Avenue leading to both the old Benson Highway and points east or the old Nogales Highway and points south.