Phoenix Street Signs To Honor Murdered Arizona Republic Reporter Don Bolles

By Christina Estes
Published: Thursday, June 17, 2021 - 7:39am
Updated: Thursday, July 8, 2021 - 12:08pm

The Clarendon Hotel
Amanda Luberto/KJZZ
The Clarendon Hotel.

A hotel in central Phoenix will honor an Arizona Republic reporter killed by a car bomb 45 years ago. 

In June 1976, Don Bolles drove his white Datsun to the Clarendon Hotel. The investigative reporter, known for covering corruption in the racing industry, thought he was meeting a potential source. 

But as Bolles waited in the lobby, police and court records say a man attached six sticks of dynamite underneath the Datsun. When Bolles backed his car out, another man used a remote control to detonate the bomb.  

“His life was taken from him while he was using his profession really in journalism to make our city a better and safer place to live,” said Steve Beuerlein.

He told the Phoenix City Council on Wednesday he grew up with Don Bolles daughter.

“When her father was assassinated, we had just graduated from eighth grade and it was an exciting — it was supposed to be such an exciting time, and it ended up being such a sad summer,” he said.

The bust of Don Bolles
Amanda Luberto/KJZZ
The bust of Don Bolles.

When Beuerlein noticed agenda item #90, he texted Bolles’ daughter. It was a request by the Clarendon Hotel to pay for ceremonial sign toppers honoring the reporter.  

“And she didn’t know it was going to be on the agenda,” he said. “She said this is absolutely wonderful. Her and her sister asked me to pass along to you all how grateful they are and thank you for this consideration. His family and his grandchildren will be proud of this recognition you all have an opportunity to provide for Don Bolles.”

The council approved the request and the eight by 30 inch signs will be mounted to existing sign posts at 4th and Clarendon avenues and 4th Avenue and Osborn Road. 

For many years, the hotel has displayed a bust of Don Bolles with a description of his life and death. In April 2019, as a renovation was underway, the hotel’s owner told KJZZ he removed graphic crime scene photos from the hallway and planned to “come up with another way to best represent the situation and best present the situation.”

Don Bolles Way sign 4th Avenue and Clarendon
City of Phoenix Street Transportation Department
A worker installs a Don Bolles Way commemorative street sign at Fourth Avenue and Clarendon on July 6, 2021.

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