What better way to light up the night than a safe, controlled ignition of a gas! Arizona Daily Star photographer Kelly Presnell revisited neon signs that dot the landscape in Tucson. Many are a throwback to a time when a handful of longtime restaurants, hotels and bars served a smaller city.

Neon is the second lightest gas, after helium. It's more expensive than gases because it's extracted from liquid air. It was introduced in the U.S. in 1923 with two signs at Packard dealership in Los Angeles. Its reddish-orange glow warms the darkness surrounding the signs. 

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  • Rick Wiley / Arizona Daily Star

Arizona Daily Star photographer Kelly Presnell revisited neon signs that dot the landscape in Tucson. Many are a throwback to a time when a ha…

editor's pick featured special report
  • Kelly Presnell / Arizona Daily Star

Arizona Daily Star photographer Kelly Presnell revisited neon signs that dot the landscape in Tucson. Many are a throwback to a time when a ha…

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  • Kelly Presnell / Arizona Daily Star

Arizona Daily Star photographer Kelly Presnell revisited neon signs that dot the landscape in Tucson. Many are a throwback to a time when a ha…

editor's pick featured top story
  • Kelly Presnell / Arizona Daily Star

Arizona Daily Star photographer Kelly Presnell revisited neon signs that dot the landscape in Tucson. Many are a throwback to a time when a ha…

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  • Photos by Kelly Presnell / Arizona Daily Star Text by Rick Wiley / Arizona Daily Star

Arizona Daily Star photographer Kelly Presnell revisited neon signs that dot the landscape in Tucson. Many are a throwback to a time when a ha…

  • Photos by Kelly Presnell / Arizona Daily Star; Text by Rick Wiley / Arizona Daily Star

Arizona Daily Star photographer Kelly Presnell revisited neon signs that dot the landscape in Tucson. Many are a throwback to a time when a ha…

  • Rick Wiley / Arizona Daily Star

The signs that yielded the letters for "Tucson" on Thursday's Caliente cover image in the Arizona Daily Star:

  • Photos by Kelly Presnell and text by Rick Wiley / Arizona Daily Star

Arizona Daily Star photographer Kelly Presnell revisited neon signs that dot the landscape in Tucson. Many are a throwback to a time when a ha…

Arizona Daily Star photographer Kelly Presnell revisited neon signs that dot the landscape in Tucson. Many are a throwback to a time when a ha…