Thursday, March 17, 2022

Ballet Arizona tour

Who wears $150-180 custom made shoes from London that least one week? The fabulous dancers at Ballet Arizona.

Thanks to Clede Gorrell, we were privileged to have a Behind the Scenes tour, watch a rehearsal and enjoy a lovely lunch at their facility this week.

Costumes being made

So many colors of thread in the costume room

League members await tour

Carolyn Hartman makes friends

One of many rehearsal/class rooms

In the Prop Room

Prop room

Tour guide, Natalie, explains the details of the rat costume

Prop room

Prop room

Ballet shoes examined by Susan Howard, Lindy Isacksen and Sharron McKinney

Ballet shoes have so much detail

Discarded ballet shoes

Natalie explains the process of making ballet shoes

Custom painted shoes

Hand painted shoes

Sunday, March 13, 2022

New Mexico-AZ History Convention

 The 2022 Joint New Mexico-Arizona History Convention will be held in Las Cruces, NM, April 7-9, at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum. The program is available on the Arizona History Convention website at In the program you will find a description of the 30 sessions. Please check back shortly for more information regarding tours, vendors, and hotel information. 

The Mesilla Valley is the oldest producer of vineyards in north America, so this year’s plenary will feature historians Erik Berg and Rick Hendricks discussing the history of wine making in the Southwest. If you’d like to drink a bit of history, join us after the plenary for the wine tasting at Amaro Winery, which still produces Mission grapes, originally planted by Jesuit priests in 1597 for sacramental wine. Please use the Historical Society of New Mexico’s website to register for the conference and all social events:

And follow the Arizona History Convention’s Facebook page for updates, in-depth descriptions of some of the Arizona presentations, and a video featuring a discussion of New Mexico’s wine history.

I hope to see you in Las Cruces this April, and again in 2023 when we reconvene once more on Arizona soil in Tempe. 

Heidi J. Osselaer, PhD 
Arizona History Convention, Inc.

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Neon signs: fabulous topic for March meeting Guest Speaker

Diane Smith brought us Jay Mark for the March meeting guest speaker. Who knew neon signs were so historical and artistic? Thanks to Diane Smith who enlisted our March guest speaker, Jay Mark, to educate us on the value of these iconic landmarks. The Diving Lady and Buckhorn Baths were two that he discussed.

Many signs have been destroyed over the years, but Mesa Preservation Foundation is working on saving them. We were privileged to see Donofrio Candy and Rose Bowl neon sign in the back lot at the AZ Heritage Center, ready for restoration.

Diane explained,"Jay Mark takes us on the fascinating journey of neon--from novelty to clutter to a newly appreciated art form in a span of less than a century. Motorized transportation, a national highway network, and a gas called neon converged at a propitious time in the early 20th century to become a unique communication tool that forever changed the American roadside landscape. Later, governments aggressively outlawed or discouraged its use, and now neon signs are recognized as an art form worth preserving. Jay teaches, writes and works in the fields of historic preservation, history museums, public transportation, urban planning and public policy. His passion for preservation has been recognized by many, including winning the Arizona Historical Society's Al Merito Award. After Jay speaks, Nathan Samoriski, AHS Collections Manager, will take us outside to view the Rose Bowl and Donofrio's signs, and tell us how the signs became the property of AHS." 

Diane Smith introduces guest speaker Jay Mark

Fundraisers were held to support the restoration project. 

To give perspective: Divers are 9 feet to 15 feet. Each letter in MOTEL is 6.5 feet tall.

Over 1,000 turned out to re-light the Diving Lady

Jay gives the history of Buckhorn Baths

Signs are preserved at Neon Sign Park in Casa Grande

Nathan Samoriski, AHS Collections Manager, explains the history of the
Donofrio Candy and Rose Bowl neon signs.

Back lot of AZ Heritage Center

Jay Mark shows the detail on the 1920 Donofrio Candy neon sign

Renee Donnelly visits with Marge Jantz who was instrumental in
creating the Casa Grande Neon Park.

Jay Mark points out areas that birds and other critters can enter
the signs leading to destruction.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

March Historical League meeting with lunch in Desert Cities Exhibit

The March meeting in the Steele Auditorium brought us together for updates and good news. President Claire Nullmeyer directed us through committee reports, upcoming events, finances and AZ Heritage Center progress.

Social hour before our luncheon (with recipes from Tastes & Treasures II - El Tovar) was in the Desert Cities Exhibit. It's always fun to explore the museum!

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Opening Night "ON AIR" The History of Broadcast News in Arizona"

Opening night at "On Air: The History of Broadcast News in Arizona" was filled with smiles and memories. Recognize Rebekah Tabah-Percival and Susan Dale, two broadcasters Susan Baker and Deborah Selzer, Miss Joyce Bailey and friends, Dr David Breeckner and Pat McMahan, League President Claire Nullmeyer and Pat talking about Ireland.

The newest exhibit at the Arizona Heritage Center in Tempe tells the story of the early beginnings of broadcast news in Arizona and follows the dramatic changes in technology and culture from the 1920s to today. 🎙🎥
The exhibit features Arizona television and radio artifacts and images donated to the Arizona Historical Society by the House of Broadcasting.