Why Brentwood Should Save the Arrow

As you drive along Rhode Island Avenue, it’s easy to miss the arrow.

Located atop two metal posts in an empty parking lot in Brentwood, the unlit metal arrow points downward to what was once a car sales lot.

It’s a reminder of the Route 1 corridor’s not-so distant past as a haven for car dealerships, auto supply stores and used car lots. As a nearby sign still notes, the property at 4100 Rhode Island Ave. was once the home of B&J Auto Sales.

Soon, the property will be the home of Artisan 4100, which will feature 84 apartments and 5,000 square feet of retail when it opens in 2019 — making it a perfect symbol of the changes that the area is going through.

Before construction begins, however, the Hyattsville Wire would like to suggest that someone salvage the old arrow sign and find an artistic new purpose for it. Or even reuse it to point to the new Artisan 4100 once completed.

The Route 1 corridor has already found some cool ways to honor its motorist past, from the renovated Lustine Center in the Arts District Hyattsville to the former Model T showroom now housing Vigilante Coffee.

That’s also meant the use of neon at places like Franklins, Arts District HyattsvilleTanglewood Works, Vigilante Coffee in College ParkPyramid Atlantic Art Center, among other places.

As Route 1 moves further into the 21st century, it’s tempting to see little reminders of its past like this as disposable, but some of the coolest bits of architectural history that survive were once viewed the same way.

Remember, there are only so many of these kinds of signs around. Let’s try to keep Route 1’s history alive and save the arrow in Brentwood.

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