Spring training landmark in Mesa on list of endangered roadside spots

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Placed on list of endangered roadside places. By Alicia Barron Placed on list of endangered roadside places. By Alicia Barron
Placed on list of endangered roadside places. By Alicia Barron Placed on list of endangered roadside places. By Alicia Barron
Placed on list of endangered roadside places. By Alicia Barron Placed on list of endangered roadside places. By Alicia Barron
Placed on list of endangered roadside places. By Alicia Barron Placed on list of endangered roadside places. By Alicia Barron
Placed on list of endangered roadside places. By Alicia Barron Placed on list of endangered roadside places. By Alicia Barron

MESA – “The fact the Giants came here was the start of the Cactus League," explains 103-year-old Alice Obarr-Sliger.

Mesa's Buckhorn Baths Motel is proof that if you build it they will come. Alice is a native Arizonan. She was born and raised in Mesa and married her husband Ted in 1935, a homesteader.

Giants Owner Horace Stoneham arrived in 1947. Alice explains, "He brought his team here until 1972. Twenty five years the Giants came to Buckhorn for the baths.”

In 1939 they bought 160 acres at what is now Recker and Main Street in Mesa. Alice tells 3TV, “We hauled water here for four years. For four years we hauled water here and got very tired of that...so we drilled a well and that well was a miracle. It came in hot. It was hot water and not only was it hot, it was hot mineral water.”

Word of this water spread quickly. “They said ‘Please make water available to us’ so we put four tubs to start with,” Alice says.

Next they built the dressing rooms, the motel and a restaurant along with a full staff to accommodate all the customers.

“They were lined up to take those baths they were lined up.” They lined up until the motel closed in 1999. It is still standing and still in great shape. His motel is not only part of the Cactus League history but also part of our country's history. It is listed in 2005 on the National Registry of Historic Places.

This week it was put on another list which names the Buckhorn Baths No. 1 of the top 10 most endangered roadside places.

“I don't like that much. I don't think we're endangered,” Alice admits.

In fact, Mrs. Sliger still dreams of the Buckhorn Baths bustling. The motel is for sale and she hopes there is a buyer out there that will appreciate this and love it the way she and the Giants have.

“I would love to see it re-open, I tell you, they'd be lined up for it," Alice says. "They still call me and ask when that bath house is going to open.”

The motel is also home to the Arizona Wildlife Museum, something Ted Sliger started with his taxidermy collection. Alice is now donating to the Superstition Mountain Museum in Apache Junction.