Pima Community College has received a 2012 Governor’s Heritage Preservation Honor Award from Gov. Jan Brewer for partnering with the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation to give four beautifully restored historic neon signs a new home at PCC’s Downtown Campus.
The award was given to the Tucson Neon Sign Rehabilitation Project for its “outstanding achievements in preserving Arizona’s historic and prehistoric cultural resources.”
In April, the four 1950s-era signs were installed along the south side of Drachman Street, along the north edge of the Downtown Campus, 1255 N. Stone Ave. The signs were donated to PCC by the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation, which had painstakingly brought them back to life. The signs once marked the entrances to businesses well-known to longtime Tucsonans: Magic Carpet Golf, the Tropicana Motor Hotel, Medina’s Sporting Goods and Canyon State Motor Lodge-Arizonan Hotel.
On April 27, the campus, foundation and area residents celebrated the colorful addition to the neighborhood with a with a 1950s-throwback “sock hop” featuring a classic car show, a fashion show, music, and dance lessons and demonstrations. Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild and other officials took part in a short dedication ceremony, followed by the switching on of the signs in all their neon glory.
“This award not only celebrates Tucson’s eclectic mid-century modernism but is the culmination of an incredible partnership between the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation and Pima Community College,” Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation President Demion Clinco says. “Because of Pima Community College’s leadership and commitment to this project Tucson will glow a little brighter."
“We are proud to have worked closely with the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation to play such an integral part of the restoration of Miracle Mile,” PCC Downtown Campus President Dr. Luba Chliwniak said. “The award reflects how PCC nurtures its surrounding neighborhoods for the benefit of the community.”
The Governor’s Heritage Preservation Honor Award is given annually to 10 individuals, businesses, organizations and projects; 2012’s other winners included The University of Arizona for its Cannon-Douglass House rehabilitation. The award is sponsored by the Arizona Preservation Foundation and the Arizona State Historic Preservation Office.