The intersection of Main and Center street has been at the heart of Mesa's history for over a century. Now home to the Mesa Arts Center, conceived
Mesa's firs shopping center was built in 1908 by A.J. Chandler on the corner of Main and MacDonald. It was a U-shaped Spanish-Revival structure with a court yard that opened up to Main Street. The longest running business in the shopping center was Everybody's Drug Store started by Dr. Ralph Palmer, a contract surgeon for the Roosevelt Dam construction project.
Mesa City Hall sits on the grounds of what used to be a luxurious hotel titled El Portal. It was built in the late 1920s as a rival for Hotel San Marcos in Chandler. The hotel featured a lobby, grand dining room, and 55 air-cooled and steam-heated rooms. It was given the name El Portal because Mesa was the Gateway City to the Salt River Valley. The hotel barely survived the Great Depression, but became popular again during World War II. Chicago Cubs players often stayed at the hotel during Spring Training until the building was demolished in 1972.
In recent years, Mesa has actively sought to revitalize the city center, including the development of the Mesa Arts Center, as well as new development plans to connect the Arts Center & Pioneer Park into an open pedestrian space.