ROAD SIGNS OF ARIZONA

All photos taken by Mark O'Neil unless otherwise noted

Updated March 2, 2002

INTERSTATE HIGHWAY SIGNS

Current Arizona interstate sign. Arizona is one of a handful of states that still puts the state name on its signs. All Arizona signs since the early 70's have a DOT (formally AHD) date sticker at the bottom of the sign. (Formally of my collection)

US HIGHWAY SIGNS

Embossed US highway sign with cats-eye reflectors. (Collection of Robert Edgar).

In the mid-1950's, AASHTO relaxed its restrictions on the designs of US highway signs and a few state, including Arizona, began to experiment with colors to aid motorists. Route signs were colored by direction. This scan of the 1956 Official Highway Map shows the color scheme; however, a color photo from the era shows the the color are really white letters on a green background, white letters on a blue background and black letters on an orange background. We are unsure about the brown. Furthermore, Arizona dropped the "US" and the line from its signs and the signs were silkcreened rather than embossed.

By the late 1950's, Arizona adoped the current style US highway shield but continued using colors in the background area (the black area on current signs). The color program was also extended to state route markers. According to Official Highway Maps from the era, the colored shields were gone by 1965.

STATE ROUTE SIGNS

Current style of Arizona state route markers. Older three-digit signs like this one (dated 1978) use 24" signs. Current three digit routes use extended 36" signs. (My collection)

Older style state route marker. This a 24" sign probaby from the 1960's after Arizona experimented with colored signs in the 1950's and the early 60's. (My collection).

Embossed state route marker from the 1930's. The swastika was removed by 1941 - notice that it faces the opposite direction from the Nazi swastika and is actually an Navajo symbol of good luck. This sign is also unusual in that it painted opposite colors of most signs from that era. (Collection of Robert Edgar).

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