When the Third Avenue El was extended into the Bronx in the 1890s, Manhattan’s 3rd Avenue was as well, taking over the routes of several separate streets over which the el was built. However, New York County, of which the Bronx was a part in the 1890s, treated 3rd Avenue differently on street signs in Manhattan than it did in the Bronx. While all numbered “avenue” signs in Manhattan from 1 to 12 used digits to represent the avenues, in the Bronx, street signs spelled out the “Third” on the signs, and the practice is continued till this day.
This sign was one of the thousands installed beginning in the early 1910s, when the Bronx was still part of New York County. After years of agitation on the part of local officials, the Bronx was finally voted county status in 1914 and as such is the “newest” county in the State of New York. This sign was likely in place until the 1960s, when vinyl signs replaced the old metallic ones. I have always adored the font on these old Manhattan-Bronx signs and wish someone would digitize it. The Third Avenue el lasted until 1973 in the Bronx from the Hub to Fordham U.
Photo: Jean Kweskin-Siegel. Surprisingly it was found in a restaurant in Dillon, SC.