A little history...
Highway Displays, Inc. was first founded by Louis Schwartz, a Hungarian immigrant, as the Knickerbocker Sign Company in 1918. However, after only three short years, Louis officially changed the company's name to Highway Displays.
In 1949, Louis' eldest son, Jules Schwartz, began working for the family business. He'd recently served in the United States Army during World War II, and subsequently graduated from Baylor College in Texas. Having been born and raised in Poughkeepsie, Jules took great pride in helping his father run the growing business.
Louis continued to run the company until his death in 1969, at which time Jules took the reins.
By the 1980s, Highway Displays had grown to a respectable size, owning and operating billboards throughout the Mid-Hudson Valley, as well as parts of Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. In 1989, Jules' son-in-law, Jeffrey Hartman, moved his family to Poughkeepsie and joined the thriving company.
Jules continued to oversee his family's business until his death in 1999, at which time his widow, Sandra, took over as President of the company. Jules was tremendously proud to have given fifty years of his life to Highway Displays, as well as to his community. Jules played a prominent role in the Poughkeepsie South Rotary Club, serving as President on more than one occasion. Following his death, the club recognized Jules' dedication by creating an annual Jules Schwartz Humanitarian Award in his memory.
Jules' daughter, Marcy Schwartz, joined Highway Displays in the Spring of 2000. She has also followed in her father's footsteps by recently serving as President of the Poughkeepsie South Rotary Club.
Today, Highway Displays continues to play a major role in our regional economy, remaining the Mid-Hudson Valley's largest outdoor advertising firm.
Highway Displays currently employs 15 local residents, and has been proud to provide jobs to more than 100 people over the past 98 years.
Our Phone Number
You may have noticed that some of our available billboards list our phone number as GL2-2121, which stands for GLobe (2-2121).
Some of you may remember the days when this type of phone number was common. For those that don't, here's a short explanation:
In December, 1930, New York City became the first city in the United States to adopt the two-letter, five-number format. It remained alone in this respect until well after World War II, when other municipalities across the country began to follow suit.
By 1965 all newly-connected phone numbers nationwide consisted of numerals only. Pre-existing numbers continued to be displayed in many places well into the 1970s. In addition to Highway Displays, Boushelle, a company outside Chicago, still uses HU3-2700 in their commercials.
Many area residents have come to associate our antique phone number with the old-fashioned, dedicated personal service we are proud to provide. The truth is, at Highway Displays we like to embrace change, whether in the industry itself, or on a smaller scale. However, sometimes it's nice to recognize the past. We're proud of our long and rich history as active members of our community, and our "throwback" phone number is just a little bit of nostalgia packed into a rapidly changing world.
Business of The Month
The Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce named Highway Displays its "Business of the Month" in its January, 2012 issue of The Bottom Line, which can be seen HERE.