As a rule, painted signs that have been around for several years mark businesses that have long since departed, but in today’s case we have two painted signs close to each other on West Farms Road just south of the East 174th Street truss bridge that advertise a pair of businesses that are still open. One is for Arrow (
Automotive Laundry and Dry Cleaning) Parts and Equipment, 1735 West Farms Road, and the other for Champion Paint Manufacturing Co. at #1743 West Farms Road, which online records show was established in 1957, the same year I was established. The Arrow sign has a twin on the building behind the photographer.
Both seem to be positioned to be noticed by motorists on both the former Sheridan Expressway (now Sheridan Boulevard) and from the East 174th Street overpass. They get the job done, and the business owners have had no need to replace them as long as they hold up in direct sunlight.
I haven’t had much to say about West Farms Road over the years, but it’s one of the Bronx’s oldest roads going back to the colonial era. It runs from the intersection of Westchester Avenue and Southern Boulevard and runs in a curving, undulating fashion along the Bronx River for part of its route to Boston Road and East Tremont Avenue in the West Farms neighborhood. According to this 1901 map, it once extended east to Westchester Square, but that section became a part of East Tremont Avenue. The curving route may correspond to bends in the Bronx River that have since been straightened. I’m happy it’s retained its old name as it marks farms that have long since disappeared from the Bronx.
In recent years, West Farms Road received an upgrade as it is the westernmost lane of the new Sheridan Boulevard, a former expressway that was “reimagined” as an at-grade boulevard resembling Roosevelt Boulevard in Philly. It was given a bicycle lane and several grade crossings with stoplights allowing pedestrians to cross it to get to Starlight Park on its east side.
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