Filed Under Story

Stapley Road Station

Named in honor of pioneer businessman and community leader O. S. Stapley, the road that bears this name today was known as Powerhouse Road prior to 1960. The intersection around Powerhouse and Main was home to numerous pioneers who helped to shape and grow Mesa. Dr. E. W. Wilbur owned a ranch at the southeast corner of the intersection. In 1892 local Methodists began to meet in his barn for Sunday school, prior to the construction of Mesa's Methodist Church (of which the doctor was a founder). Nearby neighbors included ranchers Warren Leroy Sirrine and John James Fraser. Orley S. Stapley also owned land nearby, but it was his hardware and farm supply business that made him a household name for decades around Arizona's farm country. From a single store on Main Street opened in 1895, Stapley's hardware empire expanded to nine stores by the early 1960s. Also a leader in the Mormon church and a longtime fixture in state politics, it's no surprise that a pioneer as active as Stapley for so many decades had a street named after him at one of Mesa's busiest, fast-growing intersections.

Images

Tempe-Mesa Highway
Tempe-Mesa Highway For most of the city’s history, Mesa’s historic Main Street was the main highway that connected the town to its neighbors and to the rest of the United States. From the early 1930s to 1969, this highway actually consisted of four U.S. highways. These were the 60, 70, 80, and 89. The first three all ran east-west connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. U.S. 89 was known as the “National Park Highway” for connecting seven major national parks in the Mountain West. The survivor of these highways is U.S. 60, which left Main Street in 1992 for its current route as the “Superstition Freeway.” Date: 2016
Millet's Sign Company
Millet's Sign Company At the entrance of Fraser Drive into the Fraser Fields subdivision once stood the shop of one of Mesa's most prolific and talented sign makers: the Paul Millet Sign Company. Trained by Mesa's legendary Guerrero-Lindsey Sign Company after World War II, Millet and his team created numerous highway signs around Mesa, and also built neon signs for motels and other businesses throughout Arizona. His best-known creation is the Starlite Motel's famed Diving Lady, a unique animated creation that continues to greet motorists on Main Street after six decades. In addition to making signs that marked other motels, drive-in movie theaters (like west Mesa's Pioneer), and other highway landmarks, Millet's neighbor a few doors east on Main Street was Bill Johnson's Big Apple. This giant Millet creation, with its iconic steer and the bold invitation “Let's Eat” have reminded diners, travelers, and residents of one of the Valley's premier neon artists for over forty years.
Dream Homes
Dream Homes Residential development gobbled up farms and ranches all the way to Stapley Drive in the late 1940s. Most of the new subdivisions were composed of small, single family homes laid out in gridded tracts. Until the 1950s, many of the new developments springing up along Main Street between University Drive to the north and Broadway Road to the south were “Mom and Pop” subdivisions ranging from a hand-full of homes to a few dozen houses on small lots.

Location

Metadata

Jay Mark, “Stapley Road Station,” Salt River Stories, accessed May 23, 2024, https://saltriverstories.org/items/show/252.