Tag Archives: Arizona

Santa Claus, AZ


I’d passed Santa Claus, Arizona three times and didn’t even realize it was there.

It wasn’t until I looked at an Arizona road map, searching for a spot to spend a night on a trip between Las Vegas and Phoenix, that I saw the unusual place name. A town named Santa Claus? I wondered. In Arizona? What the hell?

Turns out there’s not much of a town there. As the Atlas Obscura website (http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/santa-claus-arizona) says, it’s really just a “Saint Nicholas-themed ghost town in the Mojave.”


This photo shows the remains of Santa’s Land Office, but unfortunately, the jolly old elf’s face is gone, and he’s only identifiable by a bit of remaining beard.

According to Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Claus,_Arizona), it all started in the 1930s when

Nina Talbot[8] and her husband moved from Los Angeles, California, to Kingman, Arizona, to operate a motel[5]In 1937, she opened the town of Santa Claus approximately 14 miles (23 km) northwest of img_7878Kingman.[3][5] Her plans for the town included subdividing the 80-acre (32 ha) site into lots that would form a resort town centered on a Santa theme…[5][9] Talbot built a series of buildings using a North Pole, Santa’s workshop theme as part of the Santa Claus…attraction.[9] The attraction was designed to promote the sales of surrounding, subdivided land.[9]

The aforementioned Atlas Obscura article says the town

featured several Christmas-themed buildings and visiting children could meet Santa Claus at any day of the year. The town’s post office became very popular in December as children and parents could receive mail postmarked with the town’s name.

The town did in fact become a popular tourist destination, however no one ever bought land there, and the only people living there were the ones working in the town. Failing to see how she would make her real estate profits, and with the town in decline, Talbot sold Santa Claus in 1949, having failed in her attempt to convince people to move to the desert.img_7888

The town of Santa Claus sounded worthy of a visit, even if the town is now of the ghost variety. I decided I would stop by on my way to Phoenix. I wasn’t expecting much, and I wasn’t disappointed.

There’s no exit for a town called Santa Claus, no sign announcing the place. I only knew what dilapidated building were the remains of the town because I’d gleaned the location from the Roadside America website (http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/14388): Between mile markers 57 and 58, on the west side of Highway 93.

When I got to mile marker 56, I started looking. When I got to mile marker 57, I began to pay close attention. Then I saw some rundown shacks on the side of the highway. There was also a wide gravel parking area just off the shoulder of the road. I slowed the van and pulled into the gravel. Beyond the parking area was a fence topped with barbed wire and adorned with a faded sign ordering “no trespassing.”

img_7882I stayed on my side of the fence and took photos of the one pole still decorated with green and red Christmas swirls, the deteriorating wishing well, the rotting buildings, the graffiti emblazoned over it all. Apparently, there was once a little train (the “Old 1225”) on the property too, but it’s gone now. You can see photos of it and the face of Santa now missing from the land office sign on the Atlas Obscura page about the town, which says,

by the 1970s, [the town] had already begun to fall into disrepair…The last gift shops and amusements went out of business in 1995…

The Wikipedia article about the town of Santa Claus says,

In 2003, the population of Santa Claus was 10, divided among five houses, one of which had a buffalo.[14] By 2004, the town had become difficult to locate…as of 2005, all U.S. mail addressed to Santa Claus is sent to Santa Claus, Indiana.[15]

Well Virginia, I guess there’s not a Santa Clause, at least not in Arizona. img_7879

The good news is that Santa Clause, AZ is for sale. Four acres can be had, and the owners are considering all offers. The bad news? I’m not sure any of those buildings can be salvaged, which means if you buy Santa Claus, all you’re really getting is a parcel of land with a cool name.

I took all of the photos in this post. To see really stunning photos of the remains of Santa Claus, AZ, see the December 2013 article from the Daily Mail titled “Walking in a desert wonderland: Haunting photos of an abandoned Arizona Christmas theme park portray a once popular tourist spot after decades of decline in the Mojave heat.” ( http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2521472/Haunting-photos-abandoned-Arizona-Christmas-theme-park.html#ixzz4SVU1oQqG)





Motels of Mesa

The Hiway Host Motel sign on Main Street in Mesa, AZ.

The Hiway Host Motel sign on Main Street in Mesa, AZ.

On a multi-block strip of Main Street in Mesa, Arizona, one can find several old motels. The rates are cheap (especially for folks who go the weekly or monthly route) and the living can be rough. Yes, it’s a part of the city I wouldn’t care to walk in alone after dark (although I have before). Many of the folks walking around the area seem to dabble in (or perhaps concentrate on) methamphetamine, which leads me to refer to the neighborhood places of lodging as “meth motels.”

img_5963As is often the case, it wasn’t always this way. Main Street in Mesa was once part of U.S. Route 80. According to a vintage postcard website (http://nostalgia.esmartkid.com/azroute80pc.html),

U. S. Highway 80 was one of the original Federal Highways commissioned in 1926 along with some of its more famous newly numbered cousins such as U. S. 66 – “The Mother Road”, U. S. 30 – “The Lincoln Highway”, and U. S. 40 – “The National Highway…”

[I]t was probably more important [than the other, more famous, named highways mentioned above] because it was an all-weather, all-year route that was dependable to transcontinental travelers.

Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Route_80_in_Arizona) says,

U.S. Route 80 (US 80) also known as the Ocean-to-Ocean Highway was a major transcontinental highway which existed in the U.S. state of Arizona from November 11, 1926 to October 6, 1989.[2][4] At its peak, US 80 traveled from the California border in Yuma to the New Mexico state line near Lordsburg...[5]

Low weekly rates appeal to the modern clientele on Mesa's Main Street.

Low weekly rates and kitchenettes at the Trava-Leers Motel probably appeal to the modern clientele on Mesa’s Main Street.

US 80 was a particularly long highway, reaching almost 500 miles (800 km) long within the state of Arizona alone.[7] With the advent of the Interstate Highway System, Interstate 10 and Interstate 8 both replaced US 80 within the state.[8] US 80 was removed from Arizona in 1989; the remainder of it now being State Route 80.[5]

The folks who named this hotel didn't know--or didn't care--that kivas are used religiously and people from the Pueblo tribes don't wear feather headdresses.

The folks who named this hotel and designed the sign didn’t know–or didn’t care–that kivas are used religiously and people from the Pueblo tribes don’t wear feather headdresses.

Question: What do road-weary travelers driving on a coast-to-coast highway eventually need?

Answer: A clean, comfortable place to spend the night.

In a 2012 article about preservation of the neon history on Main Street in Mesa (https://cronkitenewsonline.com

I think "refrigerated" meant "air conditioned."

I think “refrigerated” meant “air conditioned.”

/2012/09/mesa-group-works-to-preserve-neon-history-along-main-street/index.html), president of the Mesa Preservation Foundation Victor Linoff said,

From quite a distance, you’re traveling in your car, you’re tired, you want to stop for the night or get something to eat. These signs pulled you in. They were like beacons in the night.

In the aforementioned article, Demion Clinco, president of the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation, said of neon signs,

They are emblematic of the classic automobile age in America, [t]hat mid-century modern highway culture that just doesn’t exist anymore.

Not all of the old motels on Main Street have neon signs. Maybe some of them never had neon and simply relied on their competitors’ signs to draw enough people into the general area. There were probably enough drivers passing through to ensure every business got a piece of the pie.  Some neon signs have been lost to the ravages of time. At least a couple of the motels lacking cool signs still boast cool architecture.

This photo shows a view of the Citrus Inn. There are parking spots for cars between the rooms.

This photo shows a view of the Citrus Inn. There are parking spots for cars between the rooms. The Citrus Inn has a really boring, modern sign, but its architecture is old-fashioned cool.

I particularly like the motels with parking spaces between the rooms. The Citrus Inn is designed this way. The open space between the two rooms is big enough for two cars. A covered parking area is a huge luxury for anyone whose car would otherwise be pounded by the Arizona summer sun.

I think this photo shows the Kiva Lodge, but I'm not positive. In any case, it's another example a motel with covered parking next to the rooms. I also like the turquoise accents and the red Spanish tile on the awning.

I think this photo shows the Kiva Lodge, but I’m not positive. In any case, it’s another example a motel with covered parking next to the rooms. I also like the turquoise accents and the red Spanish tile on the awning.

The motels of Mesa and their signs are part of Arizona history and U.S. history too. They are relics of a time before motel chains, when each motel on the road was part of a unique travel experience.

I took all of the photos in this post.


The Other Things We Did in Jerome


This view of Jerome, AZ shows buildings nestled into the hillside, including the mile-high Jerome Grand Hotel.

After my friend and I explored the Douglas Mansion in the Jerome State Historic Park and spent some time trying to see the bottom of the mineshaft at the Audrey Headframe Park, we headed to downtown Jerome.

Jerome is a very small town. According to https://www.google.com/search?q=population+jerome+az&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8, as of 2013, the population was only 448. On the sunny Saturday afternoon in February when we visited, there must have been at least 200 visitors in town. There’s not much parking downtown (if a four block stretch of businesses even deserves that designation), but we were smiled upon by the parking gods, and my friend found a place to leave the vehicle. By the time headed home in the late afternoon, there were many cars circling to find a place to park, a lot of motorcycles thundering through town, and tourists all over the place.

While I don’t think my friend or I bought anything at any of the shops or galleries we visited, we sure had a nice time looking.

This photo shows a building in the Jerome shopping area. I believe that's the Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery at street level. The windows on all the upper levels appear to be boarded up.

This photo shows a building in the Jerome shopping area. I believe that’s the Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery at street level. The windows on all the upper levels appear to be boarded up.

One of the coolest stores we went into was Nellie Bly Kaleidoscopes at 136 Main Street. Here’s my review of the store from Trip Advisor:


This store is filled with kaleidoscopes and teleidoscopes too. There are a few inexpensive, toy kaleidoscopes, but most of the items in this store are works of art. Some pieces cost hundreds of dollars. Some cost thousands of dollars. There are other artsy knick-knacks here too.

Stop in here, at least for a little while, and be dazzled. (But beware, you will probably want to buy something.)

Be sure to step out onto the back balcony and take in the view of Jerome from that vantage point.

We also stopped in at the Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery at 502 North Main Street. This gallery is a great place for art lovers. Items available included visual art, wearable art (jewelry, t-shirts), mail-able art, paintings, ceramics, photographs, glass work, and probably many more things I don’t remember. This art is done by more than a dozen different artists. There were a lot of fabulous creations here, and it was fun to look.

We skipped the Jerome Historical Society Mine Museum at 200 Main Street. Although the price was right at only $2 for admission, my friend and I were all historied out. However, if I ever go back to Jerome, this museum will be on my agenda.

Before we headed out of town for the day, we did a drive-by at the Jerome Grand Hotel. My friend actually stayed

This photo shows the Jerome Grand Hotel.

This photo shows the Jerome Grand Hotel.

there once with her family, but I’ve never seen the interior. By the time we were in the car again, it was late afternoon, and I was exhausted. I did want to see the outside of the building up close, so my friend agreed to drive us up to it. The tiny parking lot was packed, so it’s a good thing I didn’t have my heart set on going inside.

According to the hotel’s webpage (http://www.jeromegrandhotel.com/Jerome_Hotel_history.htm),
This Spanish Mission style building, constructed in 1926, started out as the United Verde Hospital, opening January, 1927. In 1930, it was written up as the most modern and well equipped hospital in Arizona and possible the Western States.
The building is one of the highest public structures in the Verde Valley, (5240 Ft.). As the last major building constructed in Jerome, the building was not only to boost the pride of the town in its classic design, but was built fire proof and able to withstand the blasts of up to 260,000 pounds of dynamite set off by the mine…How this 30,000 sq. ft., five level building of poured in place, reinforced concrete, was constructed on a 50 degree slope is an engineering marvel even by today’s standards!
This photo shows one of the old buildings in Jerome that really piqued my interest.

This photo shows one of the old buildings in Jerome that really piqued my interest.

I suppose my friend and I aren’t the kind of tourists the Jerome Chamber of Commerce is trying to attract. Other than the $7 we paid for admission to the state park and Douglas Museum, I don’t think either of us spent a dime. We were much more interested in looking at abandoned buildings than we were in buying art or rocks or t-shirts or lunch.

Oh, wait! I did spend a dime, or 51 cents to be exact. I made one of those squished pennies with a machine in the New State Building. I have a friend who collects those tourist pennies, so I make one for her whenever I see one of those machines. But other than that and museum admission, I kept my wallet closed.

 I want to visit Jerome again. In addition to missing the Mine Museum, we also managed to miss the Jerome cemetery (situated on a hill on the east side of Jerome, according to http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WMDNMV_Jerome_Cemetery_Jerome_Arizona), the sliding jail (Hull Avenue, near the intersection with Diaz Street, according to Trip Advisor), the Holy Family Church (the oldest Catholic structure

This building had pretty clear “No Trespassing” signs–from Freeport-McMoRan, no less–so we used our zoom lenses and didn’t get too close.

in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix and located at 101 E Hwy 89a, according to the church’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/holyfamilyjerome/), the Liberty Theater (110 Jerome Avenue, Trip Advisor says), and the Cuban Queen Bordello (1 Queen Street, according to Trip Advisor). I might even want to splurge and pay to go on a walking history tour of the town. Besides, there will probably still be cool old abandoned buildings to look at.


Audrey Headframe Park



Just down the road from the Jerome State Historic Park is the Audrey Headframe Park. It is a tiny “park” which includes a portable toilet and lots of mining equipment. The park is open daily from 8 am – 5 pm. A sign on the fence surrounding the park says there is a $2 donation requested per person, but when I visited (on a Saturday morning in February 2016) no one was collecting money at the gate. I don’t recall a drop box for donations either.

The Audrey Headframe is the largest wooden headframe still standing in Arizona. It was completed in 1918, and towers over the mine shaft, which is 1,900 feet deep.


According to the TechnoMine webpage (http://technology.infomine.com/reviews/Headgear/welcome.asp?view=full),

This photo shows the Audrey Headframe, the largest wooden headframe still standing in Arizona.

This photo shows the Audrey Headframe, the largest wooden headframe still standing in Arizona.

Headframes…are structures present over the mine-shafts and are used to house the skips. It supports the hoists and is used to transport the workers and materials in and out of the underground mine…Headframes are also known by different names like gallows frame, winding tower, hoist frame, pit frame, shaft-head frame, or headgear.

The reference to “skips” in the explanation of headframes led me to the Encyclopædia Britannica (https://www.britannica.com/technology/skip), which says,

Ore is transported to the surface in special conveyances called skips.

Of course, Jerome got its start as a mining town, so it makes sense that artifacts from the history of mining are displayed prominently.

Wikipedia says,

Jerome is a town in the Black Hills of Yavapai County in the State of Arizona. Founded in the late 19th century on Cleopatra Hill overlooking the Verde Valley, it is more than 5,000 feet (1,500 m) above sea level. Supported in its heyday by rich copper mines, it was home to more than 10,000 people in the 1920s. As of the 2010 census, its population was 444.[3]

This poster compares the depth of the Audrey mine shaft to the heights of the Eiffel Tower, the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building, and the Great Pyramid.

This poster compares the depth of the Audrey mine shaft to the heights of the Eiffel Tower, the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building, and the Great Pyramid.

The town owes its existence mainly to two ore bodies that formed about 1.75 billion years ago along a ring fault in the caldera of an undersea volcano. Tectonic plate movements, plate collisions, uplift, deposition, erosion, and other geologic processes eventually exposed the tip of one of the ore bodies and pushed the other close to the surface, both near Jerome. In the late 19th century, the United Verde Mine, developed by William A. Clark, extracted ore bearing copper, gold, silver, and other metals from the larger of the two. The United Verde Extension (UVX) Mine, owned by James Douglas, Jr., depended on the other huge deposit. In total, the copper deposits discovered in the vicinity of Jerome were among the richest ever found in any time or place.


I think this is a cage used to lower miners down the shaft and into the mine. I didn’t make any notes when I took the photo, and I can’t find confirmation on the internet.

Because I’ve studied a bit about U.S. labor history, I  was interested to learn how the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) was involved in organizing miners in Jerome. According to the aforementioned Wikipedia article,

In 1917, two miners’ strikes involving the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), which had been organizing strikes elsewhere in Arizona and other states, took place in Jerome. Seen as a threat by business interests as well as other labor unions, the Wobblies, as they were called, were subject nationally to sometimes violent harassment. The labor situation in Jerome was complicated at the time by the existence of three separate labor unions—the International Union of Mine, Mill, and Smelter Workers (MMSW); the Liga Protectora Latina, which represented about 500 Mexican miners in Jerome; and the IWW. The MMSW, which in May called a strike against United Verde, regarded the rival IWW with animosity and would not recognize it as legitimate. In response, the IWW members threatened to break the strike. Under pressure, the MMSW voted 467 to 431 to settle for less than they wanted.[35]

In July, the IWW called for a strike against all the mines in the district. In this case, the MMSW voted 470 to 194 against striking. Three days later, about 250 armed vigilantes rounded up at least 60 suspected IWW members, loaded them onto a railroad cattle car, and shipped

This photo shows my feet standing on the glass covering the top of the 1,900 feet deep shaft.

This photo shows my feet standing on the glass covering the top of the 1,900 feet deep shaft.

them out of town. Nine were arrested and jailed temporarily in Prescott though never charged with a crime; others were taken to Needles, California, then to Kingman, Arizona, where they were released after promising to desist from labor agitation.[35]

More information about the “Jerome Deportation” (of the Wobblies) can be found here: http://www.azjerome.com/jerome/history-deportation/.

I thought the coolest part of the park was standing on the glass over the mineshaft. The shaft is so deep, I couldn’t see the bottom. Even though the glass is thick and probably safe (or else the lawyers for the Jerome Historical Society would advise keeping people out of there), it was still a little scary to stand above the shaft and look down, down, down and never see the end.

I took all of the photos in this post.

Jerome, AZ


Cleopatra Hill in Jerome, AZ

A friend and I visited Jerome, AZ in February 2016. We arrived mid-morning and left mid-afternoon. We spent our day learning about the town’s history and walking around looking at the old buildings and the new art.

The town’s website (http://www.azjerome.com/jerome/) says,

Located high on top of Cleopatra Hill (5,200 feet) between Prescott and Flagstaff is the historic copper mining town of Jerome, Arizona. Once known as the wickedest town in the west, Jerome was a copper mining camp, growing from a settlement of tents to a roaring mining community. Four disastrous fires destroyed large sections of the town during its early history, resulting in the incorporation of the City of Jerome in 1899.

Founded in 1876, Jerome was once the fourth largest city in the Arizona Territory. The population peaked at 15,000 in the 1920’s.

Douglas Mansion Museum in the Jerome Historic Park, seen from a distance

This photo shows the Douglas Mansion in the Jerome Historic Park, seen from a distance. The Mansion houses a museum.

My friend and I started our day at the Douglas Mansion museum in the Jerome State Historic Park. Adults pay $7 admission to the park, but there is no additional charge to visit the museum.

The Jerome State Historic Park website (http://azstateparks.com/Parks/JERO/) has information about the mansion.

The Douglas Mansion has been an eye-catching landmark in Jerome since 1916, when James S. Douglas built it on the hill just above his Little Daisy Mine. This former home is now a museum devoted to the history of the Jerome area and the Douglas family. The museum features photographs, artifacts and minerals in addition to a video presentation and a 3-D model of the town with its underground mines.

I thought the admission fee was money well spent to learn about the history of the town. This museum was a joy to visit. The exhibits are nicely laid out and consideration obviously has gone into choosing artifacts to share. The items on display were very well-organized. It wasn’t overrun by stuff that was just old but not very interesting. Maybe because this is a state-run museum, there are funds and expertise available to do the exhibits well.

The rock room was GREAT! It housed a large variety of specimens Don’t miss the glow-in-the dark minerals in the

This piece of azurite and malachite is on display outside, not in the rock room, but it's a gorgeous specimen nonetheless.

This piece of azurite and malachite is on display outside, not in the rock room, but it’s a gorgeous specimen nonetheless.

small room on the side. Once you’re in the room, you press a button, the lights go out, and rocks light up in a variety of amazing colors. WOW!

I highly recommend  the short (half an hour or so) documentary about Jerome shown in the master bedroom. I learned a LOT about the town’s history from that video. When you arrive, ask the ranger when the next showing starts.

Parts of the documentary (like the ghost of a miner who narrates the movie) are a little cheesy, but the information I learned outweighed the silliness. (Perhaps the ghost character was there to make the film more interesting to children. Perhaps the filmmakers decided a movie about a ghost town required a ghost.)

Something I really appreciated about the documentary at the museum and the historical plaques s around town is the mater-of-fact presentation of Jerome’s rowdy past. The present-day citizens of Jerome don’t try to gloss over or clean up the town’s rough history. The good people of Jerome are proud of the town’s past as part of the Wild West. Yes, there were saloons in the town. There was gambling, yes sir, there was. Jerome had brothels and in those brothels were prostitutes, doing what prostitutes do. Jerome was a town of ruffians, and the current inhabitants want visitors to know all about it.

 The aforementioned Jerome SHP website gives more of the town’s history.
This building is a piece of Jerome's mining history visible from the state park. It is the Little Daisy Hotel, built in 1919 by the Phelps Dodge company as  housing for their employees. It's now a private residence.

This building, visible from the state park, is a piece of Jerome’s mining history. It is the Little Daisy Hotel, built in 1919 by the Phelps Dodge company as housing for employees. It’s now a private residence.

Jerome’s modern history began in 1876 when three prospectors staked claims on rich copper deposits. They sold out to a group which formed the United Verde Copper Company in 1883. The resultant mining camp of board and canvas shacks was named in honor of Eugene Jerome, the venture’s principal backer. Hopes for the enterprise ran high, but the costs of operating, especially for transportation, outstripped profits, and the company folded in less than two years.
Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerome,_Arizona) offers insight into to town’s past and present demographics.

The makeup of early Jerome differed greatly from the 21st-century version of the town. The original mining claims were filed by Whites, but as the mines were developed, workers of many nationalities arrived. Among these were people of Irish, Chinese, Italian, and Slavic origin who came to Jerome in the late 19th century. By the time of World War I, Mexican nationals were arriving in large numbers, and census figures suggest that in 1930 about 60 percent of the town’s residents were Latino.[54]

The ratio of females to males also varied greatly over time in Jerome. Census data from 1900 through 1950 show a gradual rise in the percentage of female residents, who accounted for only 22 percent of the population at the turn of the century but about 50 percent by mid-century.[56]

As of the census of 2000, there were 329 people, 182 households, and 84 families residing in the town.

Jerome is a fun and fascinating place to visit for anyone interest in the history of the Wild West, mining, or Arizona.

This photo shows a view of the mine from the Jerome State Historic Park.

This photo shows a view of the mine from the Jerome State Historic Park.

I took all of the photos in this post.

Maggie Kuhn


In the third post about the Play Me, I’m Yours piano installation in Mesa, AZ, I mentioned one of the reasons for writing given on the piano presented by Phonetic Spit was this: I write to speak my mind, even when my voice shakes.

I knew I’d seen some variation of the quote before, but who’d said it? Audre Lorde? Alice Walker? I did a Google search and found Maggie Kuhn was the woman who gave us those words.

Who’s Maggie Kuhn? I didn’t know either, until I did a little reading up on her.

According to http://womenshistory.about.com/cs/quotes/a/maggie_kuhn.htm,

Maggie Kuhn is best known for founding the organization often called the Gray Panthers [officially known at first as the Consultation of Older and Younger Adults for Social Change], a social activist organization raising issues of justice and fairness for older Americans. She is credited with the passage of laws prohibiting forced retirement and with reform in health care and nursing home oversight.

The Wikipedia article about Kuhn (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maggie_Kuhn) tells more about the work she and the Gray Panthers did.

In 1970, although [Kuhn] was working at a job she loved with the Presbyterian Church, she was forced to retire the day she turned 65 because of the mandatory retirement law then in effect. That year, she banded together with other retirees and formed the Gray Panthers movement. Seeing all issues of injustice as inevitably linked, they refused to restrict themselves to elder rights activism, but focused also on peace, presidential elections, poverty, and civil liberties. Their first big issue was opposition to the Vietnam War.

The Gray Panthers’ motto was “Age and Youth In Action,” and many of its members were high school and college students. Kuhn believed that teens should be taken more seriously and given more responsibility by society.

Kuhn raised controversy by openly discussing the sexuality of older people, and shocked the public with her assertion that older women, who outlive men by an average of 8 years, could develop sexual relationships with younger men or each other.

I couldn’t find any information about when or where Kuhn said or wrote her famous words advising us to speak our minds, but I did find the longer quote of which these words are part. The Presbyterian Historical Society (http://www.history.pcusa.org/blog/maggie-kuhn-womens-history-month) gives the longer quote as

Leave safety behind. Put your body on the line. Stand before the people you fear and speak your mind–even if your voice shakes. When you least expect it, someone may actually listen to what you have to say. Well-aimed slingshots can topple giants.

I suspect Maggie Kuhn would be quite pleased to know young people remembered her sentiment and wrote it on a piano in an Arizona town for all to see.


Play Me, I’m Yours (Part 2)



The second Play Me, I’m Yours piano I encountered during my evening stroll along Main Street in Mesa, AZ was in front of the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum. This one was looked like a cloudy blue sky, and the sides shimmered in the late afternoon sun.

If you missed previous posts, http://www.streetpianos.com/ says,

Touring internationally since 2008, Play Me, I’m Yours is an artwork by British artist Luke Jerram. Reaching over 10 million people worldwide – more than 1,500 street pianos have already been installed in over 50 cities across the globe…

Sparkling side view of piano #11

Sparkling side view of piano #11

According to his website (http://www.lukejerram.com/about/),

Luke Jerram’s multidisciplinary practice involves the creation of sculptures, installations and live arts projects. Living in the UK but working internationally for 19 years, Jerram has created a number of extraordinary art projects which have excited and inspired people around the globe.

Jerram has a set of different narratives that make up his practice which are developing in parallel with one another. He is known worldwide for his large scale public artworks.

The Street Pianos webpage (http://streetpianos.com/mesa2016/pianos/11-mesa-contemp-arts-museum/) dedicated to this piano (#11) says it was decorated by artists Kyllan Maney and Erin Peters and the Creative Catalyst team. It was donated by Mesa Arts Center and sponsored by Advanced Eyecare of Arizona.

Back view of piano #11

Back view of piano #11

What I didn’t know until I looked at the aforementioned webpage dedicated to this particular piano is that it was lit up at night. How cool is that! (Very cool, I think. I wish I had seen it all lit up.) The area behind the panel that reads “Play Me, I’m Yours” apparently glowed electric lavender, and a bright blue light shone from underneath.

The white and blue color scheme reminded me of clouds in a blue sky. I enjoyed the juxtaposition of the serene sky imagery and the gliding birds next to the shimmery shake of the sparkles on the sides. (Are the shimmers meant to represent the stars in the night sky?)

Again, I wished I could play this piano, but I made myself content with simply striking a few keys and and enjoying the art.

I took all of the photos in this post.

Bird detail from piano #11

Bird detail from piano #11