Scottsdale’s iconic cowboy sign has a new owner

It is one of Scottsdale’s most recognized Western icons — and in more recent years, a top spot for taking a selfie.

Scottsdale’s cowboy sign, at the northeast corner of Main Street and Scottsdale Road, has greeted passers-by in the Old Town district for more than 60 years.

Besides celebrating the city’s Western-centric roots, the lasso-wielding cowboy has been the backdrop for many a tourist’s snapshot over the years.

Now, the iconic sign has come under new ownership.

The Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce, its longtime owner, has gifted the $15,000 signpost and transferred ownership and all other rights to Scottsdale.

Accepting the donation means the city has the rights to use the cowboy image as it chooses, according to chamber President Rick Kidder.

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The sign “represents the Southwest heritage of Scottsdale, and it’s a very important historic piece of our community,” said Ben Moriarty, city downtown specialist, at a City Council meeting in April.

In 1952 the chamber installed the sign, which directed people to chamber offices, welcomed them to Old Town and listed community events that were happening in Scottsdale, Moriarty said.

Designed by local woodcrafter and artist Dee Flagg, the sign has undergone several facelifts over the years, according to a city report.

An Arizona Republic article published on Sept. 30, 2006, said the sign had “suffered innumerable indignities” over the years, including being struck by a car and defaced by pranksters.

Scottsdale resident Patty Badenoch recently repainted the sign, which reads “Welcome to Old Town Scottsdale,” Moriarty said.

Badenoch also restored the sign in 2006 with fellow longtime resident Darlene Peterson.

In a letter to Scottsdale’s elected officials, Kidder said originally the cowboy directed visitors to the chamber offices, which have relocated several times.

The message directing visitors was removed years ago when the sign was repainted, but the chamber had “always retained ownership and rights to this image,” Kidder wrote.

First located on Main Street, the chamber moved its offices to the Little Red Schoolhouse and other locations before settling at its current home in McCormick Ranch, according to Kidder.

Other “selfie” spots

Here are some suggested “selfie” spots around Scottsdale:

— The Love Sculpture on the Scottsdale Mall.

— The Herb Drinkwater Statue on the Scottsdale Mall

— The Gateway Trailhead in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, near Thompson Peak Parkway and Bell Road.

— Southbridge, southwest of Scottsdale and Camelback roads.

— Horse sculptures along the Indian Bend Wash, between Hayden and Scottsdale roads on the north side of Indian Bend Road.

— Scottsdale Stadium, at Osborn Road and Drinkwater Boulevard.

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