Mesa Drive Station
Religion and railroads played a prominent role in the settlement of Mesa. Mormons played a prominent role in settling multiple communities that grew together into Mesa, including the Lehi & Stringtown communities. The presence of a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) Temple in downtown Mesa reflects this influence. As early as 1912, James W. LeSueur, a businessman and church leader spearheaded the effort for Mesa to have a Mormon Temple. Years of persistence paid off. In 1927, the imposing $800,000 Classical-style Temple was dedicated, surrounded by Citrus trees one of the agricultural products that sustained the region's economy. By 1957, the citrus trees surrounding Temple were replaced with more open landscaping and gardens, connecting the Temple to nearby Pioneer Park, which had been dedicated in the preceding year.
Pioneer Park opened to grand pomp in 1956 with monuments that reflected Mesa's history. These included the cornerstone Pioneer Monument that was conceived as "a mural in stone, symbolizing the accomplishments achieved by the pioneers in their development of this community.” White wanted his monument to convey the mountains and “desert wilderness conquered by (the pioneer’s) covered wagons.” The chimney and roof expressed homes and shelters. A window with permanent light represented the community’s cultural activities.
In 1958, a retired Southern Pacific steam locomotive was added to the park, symbolizing the importance of the railroad in Mesa's history. The rail depot provided transportation for agricultural and manufactured goods to and from Mesa. The first Mesa Depot on 3rd Avenue and Macdonald was completed in 1903 and it replaced the old depot on 3rd street and Sirrine. The station accommodated the agriculture boom following the completion of the Roosevelt Dam in 1911. This depot was eventually replaced by the Southern Pacific depot on 3rd Avenue and Robson.