This is post number three in the series of Phoenix area sign photographs.  You can go back and see part I and part II if you need to catch up.  Although there is no need to view them in any particular order.

Mesa’s Main St. has a good number of signs so I had to split the Main St. post into two.  These are a continuation of the vintage and vintage-like signs along Main St. in Mesa, AZ between Lindsey Rd. and Dobson Rd.  I created a Google map to pin point the exact locations of the signs in this post.  You can view that here.

Photo of El Captian Lodge Vintage Neon Sign - Main St., Mesa, AZThe El Captain Lodge is not technically on Main St.  But it is only a few feet down a  side street and the glow of its neon sign can easily be seen from Main, so I’m making an exception.  One thing I really like about this sign is that it specifically points out that the motel has TV.  Today it would be very odd to find a motel without a TV, even the most budget among them.  But I imagine in the 1950s when this motel was flourishing, TV was a big selling point that may have set them apart from the dozens of other Lodge’s that dotted the highways.

Hiway Host Neo Sign Photograph, Mesa, AZVery near to the El Captain Lodge is the Hiway Host Motel.  Its sign features the classic “space age” look of the 1950s with the blue star burst above the glowing orange Hiway Host name.  In the daylight the turquoise blue of the sign is very reminiscent of the motel’s heyday 50 to 60 years ago.  Like the El captain above this sign makes mention of the special features of the motel, in particular “phones.”

Vintage Motel Sign - Kiva Lodge, Mesa, AZUnfortunately, the Kiva Lodge’s Indian chief head sign was not lit up the night I set out to photograph.  I do not recall ever seeing itVintage Motel Sign Photograph - Kiva Lodge, Mesa, AZ lit in fact, so I am not sure it is operational anymore.  But this is one sign, almost more than any of the others I have featured here, that really speaks to the period.  Arizona was still the “wild west,” especially to visitors coming from the Eastern United States.  “Cowboys and Indians” were a big draw.  Although the sign might be deemed a little offensive by some today, I think it is a classic and even without being lit up, I am glad it is still in good repair.  Note the “refrigerated” above the word kiva.  At the time, refrigeration, or air conditioning, was a very important feature in that would draw in weary travelers crossing AZ in the summer heat.

El Rancho Motel Vintage Motel Neon Sign - Mesa, AZThe sign for the El Rancho Motel is rather simple compared to the others along Main St.  In fact, I am not certain of its age and therefore its “authenticity” as a vintage motel sign. However, like the Hambone Bar and Grill and Bill Johnson’s Big Apple Steakhouse, even if they are not true “period” pieces they went to the extra effort to make the sign fit the theme of Main St.  And for a rather low budget motel, that deserves some extra props in my book.

Main St. in Mesa, AZ may not be the best neighborhood (or parts of it anyway) anymore.  But it is a little bit like a trip back in time with its classic neon roadside motel  signs glowing in the night.  It is a great spot to practice your night time photography.  You will have to play around with things like shutter speed, aperture and ISO to capture the signs at their best at night.  The dozen or so signs are an awesome subject for night time photography in Phoenix.  But don’t forget about them in the day as well.  They take on a whole different look.

Up next is the Melrose District in central Phoenix.  This is a short strip of 7th Ave between Camelback Rd and Indian School Rd. that features a great assortment of classic signs.

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