Samuel P. Goddard Papers

12th Governor of Arizona

Beautification and the Environment

In May of 1965, President and Mrs. Johnson brought together a cross-section of the nation’s leading business leaders, conservationists, labor leaders, highway engineers, architects, planners, and political leaders to participate in the White House Conference on Natural Beauty. The Conference adopted a philosophy that “natural beauty is an integral part of our everyday lives and concerns the total quality of the environment.”1 Areas of concern included the city, countryside, and highways, and each were to be addressed by panels on education, government responsibility, and citizen action.2 In line with the President’s challenge, Governor Goddard held an Arizona Conference on Beautification on August 27 and 28, 1965, and established the Governor’s Commission on Arizona Beauty by Executive Order on November 24, 1965.

The Governor’s Commission pledged to protect and encourage awareness of Arizona’s natural beauty, and adopted as their objectives the promotion of “clean, attractive, well-designed communities, beautiful highways, parks, shorelines, historic sites and structures through a continuing state-wide program of public education and action among citizens, governmental groups and other organizations.”3 Their first acts included asking Governor Goddard to request Attorney General Wesley Bolin’s opinion regarding the validity of Arizona’s anti-litter law; they expressed their support for the Legislative Committee on Air Pollution and urged the passage of House Bill 64 which was intended to enforce existing air pollution control laws; and they began work in cooperation with the State Land Department for achieving better regulation of billboards.

One event that was staged to promote and provide popular support for beautification was the “Billboard Bonfire and Fiesta,” held in September of 1966. The “Fiesta” was designed to pressure advertisers into voluntarily removing signs from the Pinal Pioneer Parkway Pinal Pioneer Parkway and featured music, food and refreshments. Goddard struck the match himself, lighting a bonfire to which the public added any billboards or signs they had legally acquired.4 Other than making recommendations, providing support and taking some initial action, the Commission had time to do little else under and with Governor Goddard because of his brief tenure in office.

1 Interim Report, Governor's Commission on Arizona Beauty, November 24, 1965. Office of the Governor: S.P. Goddard 1965-1966, Box 35, File, "Arizona Beauty, Governor's Commission." RG 1 SG 19. Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records.

2 Ibid.

3 Ibid.

4 Bob Byrne, "The Bilboard Bonfire and Fiesta", Western Construction, September 1966, p. 178. Office of the Governor: S.P. Goddard 1965-1966, Box 35, File "Arizona Beauty, Governor's Commission." RG 1 SG 19. Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records.

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