The Return of the Iconic Diving Lady in Mesa
MESA — For more than a half-century, the Diving Lady was a splashy neon icon along US 60. But her glory days apparently ended in 2010 when a windstorm knocked her off her board, shattering the neon tubes that had flickered on and off as she performed her three-stage dive for decades. She beckoned drivers who passed by the Starlite Motel until the wind toppled the 78-foot pole that supported her, so her last dive was to unyielding pavement in a parking lot.
But news of her ill fortune kindled a recovery effort. Within weeks, the Mesa Preservation Foundation began raising the estimated $100,000 required to bring the lady back to her kind of life. The work paid off. All the neon tubes were restored, the motel sign was put back on its pole, and she lady (or three ladies) was put back in her (or their) original place in early 2013.
Those interested in multi-stage neon aquatics can watch her nightly dives at the motel, 2710 E. Main in Mesa.
This brings back memories from my childhood. I loved the drive in on old US 60 at night. My dad would always “blow out the carbon” on that long, straight stretch coming down from the mountains, then we’d know we were getting near home when all the old motor courts and motels, with their neon lights and offers of modern rooms, with things like phones and air conditioning in them, appeared. The Diving Lady was just one of several interesting signs along the way. I don’t know why they attracted me so. Compared to what you would see in other places across the West, they weren’t much. I loved them anyway. The Good Ol’ Days had their moments.