Oddities Need Updating, Too

Phoenix

Rock formation points to Phoenix. Photo Credit: Sam Lowe

It is not unusual that some Arizona Oddities have differing stories behind their origins. Take, for example, the big sign made of rocks on Signal Butte in the Usery Mountains. The most common belief is that in the 1950s, Boy Scouts scouted up the rocks, painted them white and arranged them to spell <PHOENIX with the arrow pointing toward Sky Harbor Airport because at that time, the airport was small and easy to miss.

Now, however, come two different versions. Arizona Oddities Reader Jeff East says the sign may have been placed there by the U.S. Air Force to guide pilots training at Williams Air Base, also in the 1950s. Pilots did get instruction at Williams back then, so it’s a definite possibility. But Mesa historian Dilworth Brinton suggests it might have been placed there by a state aeronautical commission as far back as the 1930s. The City of Phoenix bought Sky Harbor from a private firm in 1935, so that’s also a possibility.

I checked with several different agencies, including the Boy Scouts, but could not find a definite answer. So I’m sticking with the Boy Scout version. After all, Boy Scouts would never tell a lie.

Marilyn Monroe mural in Phoenix. Photo Credit: Sam Lowe

Now on to Marilyn Monroe.

The big mural-sized rendition of the blonde bombshell casts a come-hither look to all who pass by her permanent position on the side of a building located on the northeast corner of 20th Street and Indian School Road. It has been there for at least 15 years, perhaps even longer, but nobody in the neighborhood knew who painted it.

While writing the Third Edition of Arizona Curiosities, I was informed that the artist was Tim Medina of Scottsdale. I contacted him; he said he indeed was responsible for the work, but I didn’t change the version that appears on Arizona Oddities. Reader Kristi Medina, a relative, confirmed that Marilyn is definitely a product of Tim’s creativity. So that mystery is solved.

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