Published on: Wednesday, July 22, 2020 News

Gateway Signs Feature Fruit Crate Label Designs

Colorful and quirky hand-painted signs featuring local history, or twists on it, were installed in 2010 on information kiosks and gateway structures across Takoma Park. Roscoe the Rooster, a smiling tree frog, and a red trolley all make appearances.

After a decade of wear and tear from the elements, local artist couple Alison Baker and James Colwell have printed their original designs on durable aluminum panels and installed them over the fading paintings earlier this month. The City of Takoma Park’s Arts and Humanities Division commissioned the installation of 23 new aluminum signs so they would be preserved for many years to come.

“We are thrilled to see the new signs reflect the color and vibrancy of the original designs,” Baker said.

For the original City-funded public art project, Baker and Colwell thought designs resembling vintage fruit crate labels would be a fun way to capture the history of Victorian-age Takoma Park. A sign for “1883 Oranges” notes the year Takoma Park was founded. A sign for “Trolley Cashews” featuring a red trolley was installed on Carroll Avenue across the street from a former trolley stop and a building once used for the Barcelona Nuts roasting facility. A sign for “B.F. Gilbert’s Old Oaks” celebrated the founder of Takoma Park.

The preservation of the signs and the history which inspired them has been gratifying for the artists. “Over the past decade, many people have told us they like the signs and learning the back story behind them,” Colwell said.

You can see more of our popular public art projects on the City of Takoma Park’s website.