Mesa history: People were unwilling to give up the convenience of their automobiles to reach their vacation paradise, no matter how sublime the setting
When it was introduced by a group of optimistic Mesa businessmen in 1910, everyone had ambitious plans and high expectations for the Pineair Resort, a 200-acre retreat nestled up in the mountains about 57 miles from downtown Mesa — less than a days journey by automobile.
It was touted for those looking to escape the Valley’s withering summer heat as a nearby idyllic Eden situated in a scenic, wooded glen.
With an endorsement from Mesa’s neighbor Tempe, Pineair was promoted as a better alternative to vacationing in California. Plus it kept dollars in the local economy.
The resort was the subject of an August 1910 front-page article in “Arizona – The New State Magazine” in which writer Claire Hosler Coombs poetically described Pineaire.
“And when the grateful shade of the piney woods falls over the weary traveler from the sun-kissed desert, when the cooling pleasing odors calm heat-tried nerves, when the shades of green intermingle in natures purest handiwork … and the limpid stream gives its clearest, coldest water to cool the travel-wearied throat, then one feels that Pineair is God-given that the Valley-dwellers may rest during the hot months that must be part of Arizona’s summers.”
Off Roosevelt Road
Pineair was about 12 miles off the improved Roosevelt Road that led to the dam construction site and then on to Globe. The fact that it was only accessible by horse was the greatest drawback to the development’s sale of lots.
But from its incorporation, Pineair’s founders assured investors an automobile road would be completed.
Although there were steady updates on the progress of the boulevard, it proved to be much more of a challenge to construct than originally thought.
A map shows the approximate location (at center) of the 200-acre of the unsuccessful Pineair Resort project tucked into the eastside of the Superstition Mountains. (Photo: Tom Kellenborn)
In 1911 it was reported “there is a short strip of (automobile) road from Fish Creek to the Pineair site yet unfinished. Certificates are being issued to those who have paid for lots, but the certificates are of little use if the roads are so bad no one can reach the resort.”
After originally announcing the road would be completed in 1910, Pineair directors soon found themselves short of the dollars needed to finish it. Delays of the $40,000 project continued year-after-year through 1911,1912, 1913, 1914 and well on into the 1920s.
The longstanding promise of an improved road allowing easy access by automobile, in the end, went unkept.
And that proved the downfall of the Pineair Resort’s dreams. People were unwilling to give up the convenience of their automobiles to reach their vacation paradise, no matter how sublime the setting.
In 1947, nearly four decades after it was announced, the road was at long last finished. But ironically too late to resurrect the aspirations of Pineair. Rather it was for a cattle ranch operating in the area.
Twenty years later, in 1967, the service road was closed, forever sealing Pineair’s fate. What little was built has virtually disappeared.
And that, my friends, is why the Pineair Resort is all but forgotten today.
Reach historian Jay Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org
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