The Historic Miracle Mile corridor, located on North Stone Avenue, Drachman Street, Oracle Road and Miracle Mile in Tucson, Arizona, was listed as a historic district in the National Register of Historic Places on December 11, 2017.
Located north of downtown Tucson, the Miracle Mile Historic District is a significant commercial corridor connected to the development and alignment of Tucson’s northern segment of U.S. Route 80, U.S. Route 89, and Arizona Route 84. Throughout the mid-twentieth century, this commercial strip, known as “Miracle Mile,” functioned as the northern vehicular gateway of Tucson for travelers traversing the nation. The Miracle Mile Historic District follows the alignment of the following extant arterials: Stone Avenue, Drachman Street, Oracle Road, and Miracle Mile. Also included in the district and associated with the highway site is a two- block segment of Main Avenue lined with trucking transfer warehouses and roadside commercial buildings, as well as four blocks of Flores Street containing a cluster of small motels. The bulk of the contributing resources, facing or within one block of the historic highway alignment, relate to mid‑century auto culture and were constructed during the district’s period of significance; 1920 through 1963. While the district has been rendered discontiguous by development, the identified segments have sufficient significance and integrity to meet National Register criteria.
The Miracle Mile Historic District represent four visually and historically linked groups of buildings connected by the alignment of historical U.S. Route 80/89, which is also a contributor to the district. In total, the Miracle Mile Historic District includes 102 individual properties, many with multiple buildings, structures, and objects. Within the Miracle Mile Historic District are 279 individual resources, including 215 buildings, 1 site, 34 structures, and 29 objects. Of these resources, 258 are contributors to the district, including 198 buildings, 31 structures, 28 objects, and 1 site, while 21 are non-contributors, including 17 buildings, 3 structures, and 1 object.
According to Demion Clinco, Executive Director of the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation, and lead author of the nomination, “The designation of Tucson’s northern historic highway corridor represent years of community advocacy and a long term commitment and investment form the City of Tucson to support the revitalization of of the Oracle Area.” He continued, “This part of our city reflects early and mid-century automotive culture and is marked by an outstanding collection of now historic motels, service stations and colorful neon signs.”
The Miracle Mile Historic District is composed of four groupings of historic resources that feature some of the best and most iconic examples of roadside architecture in Tucson and Arizona including the Ghost Ranch Lodge (designed by Josias Joesler 1941) , Tucson Inn (designed by Anne Rysdale, 1952) , the Flamingo Hotel (designed by Anne Rysdale, 1954) and Duke’s Drive-In former home to the recently closed Beau Brummel Club (designed by Arthur T. Brown, 1947). The designation makes available reinvestment incentives including federal Historic Tax Credits for rehabilitation of contributing historic buildings.
“Thanks to the hard work of the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation and local advocates like Demion Clinco, Tamara Prime, Ken Scoville, and city staff including Rebecca Ruopp the unique treasures and destinations that define Tucson’s Miracle Mile will be better known and protected,” said Karin Uhlich former City Councilor who represented Ward 3 where the district is located and who championed the effort. “From the Ghost Ranch Lodge to Monterey Court and many other spectacular sites, we all ought to appreciate this “neon-lined” artery leading to the heart of Tucson”.
““It’s thrilling that this Ward 3 historical resource has been recognized. Miracle Mile is an asset to Tucson’s history and valued as an economic and transportation corridor. Thank you to the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation and Council Member Karin Uhlich for their years of dedication to this project.” said Paul Durham, the newly elected council member representing Ward 3.
“This represents an important turning point and boost for this part of our community. This designation creates new incentives for reinvestment that will honor and preserve the past.” said Rebecca Ruopp, Principal Planner at the City of Tucson and contributor to the nomination.