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Making a Mark: Cox Address Markers

If you look close enough while walking or driving around Chevy Chase and the surrounding neighborhoods, you’ll likely notice a series of arched address markers lining front yards and businesses, many of which are adorned with a brass pineapple on top.

The majority of these – if not all of them – can be traced back to Cox Address Markers, a local Chevy Chase institution founded in 1986 by Ed Cox and now led by his great-nephew Jamie Cox.

Jamie and his wife became close with his great-uncle, a Fairway resident since the 1940s, when they moved into their first home on Queensway Drive, directly across the street from Uncle Ed’s house. Once the elder Cox reached his 90s, he bequeathed the business to Jamie, who has been at the helm since 2015.

“[Ed] wasn’t interested in doing it anymore himself but still wanted to keep the tradition alive,” said Jamie. “He ended up passing the torch onto me, and I’ve been doing it ever since.”

A business teacher at Tates Creek High School, Cox is a longtime resident of the Chevy Chase area who thoroughly enjoys continuing his great-uncle’s tradition, albeit on a part-time basis. Cox’s work as a teacher keeps him busy most of the year, but he’s still able to complete somewhere about a dozen or so address markers per year, adding to the local collection that has amassed over the past 40 years. Cox estimates there are likely somewhere near 1,000 or so Cox address markers in Lexington, primarily concentrated in the Chevy Chase/40502 area.

“I’d say that 90% of my business comes from [this area],” Cox said. “Occasionally I’ll get someone from the outskirts of town or elsewhere wanting one, but for the most part, my work is completely unique to Lexington and especially Chevy Chase.”

With most of his business being local, Cox’s marketing is done completely by word-of-mouth. This is also due to most of his work being concentrated in the summer when school is out rather than being a top priority year-round. Despite this, occasional requests have come in from former Lexingtonians and others for homes in North Carolina; Knoxville, Tennessee; Austin, Texas; and beyond. Cox typically prefers to keep his work local, however, because he can do the installation.

Cox said the most common and requested style of address marker remains the double arch design with the address number running across the center and a pineapple – a symbol of hospitality since the early days of America – adorned on top. But that isn’t the only style of markers he helps manufacture; he also makes stone markers that are just as noticeable, even though they aren’t topped with an exotic fruit.

The bases for the markers (made of iron and steel) were created by a welder in Owensboro. Cox coordinates the manufacturing and then paints them, adorns the brass numbers and creates a concrete base for installation. He said manufacturing takes a couple weeks minimum, as long as materials are delivered on time (which, unfortunately, has become increasingly more uncommon).

“I’m a type-A personality, so I hate making people wait on orders,” says Cox. “Fortunately, most of my work is seasonal, and I’m able to get it done in summer when school’s out. However, whenever I do need to install one during the school year, it’s usually convenient because oftentimes I only need to go a few streets over from where I live in order to install it.”

In addition to crafting new markers, Cox says a good portion of his business comes from restoring old markers that were installed decades ago by his great uncle for clients who often have great stories about his uncle to share.

Hearing those stories further instills a sense of pride in Jamie in how much this work means to the Chevy Chase community. He says he hopes to one day pass down the business to his son Jameson, 10, keeping the tradition alive in Lexington and Chevy Chase for generations to come.

“He’s already my sidekick on a lot of the jobs I do now, so it only makes sense to pass it onto him in the future,” said Cox. “I can [already] tell he’s got that crafty gene in him.”

While Cox doesn’t see this business ever becoming a full-time job, he loves the opportunity that his “side hustle” provides for him to connect with his neighbors, to carry on a family tradition and to truly “make a mark” on his neighborhood.

“We’re incredibly proud to be a part of the Chevy Chase community,” he said, “and hope to remain here long into the future.”

You can find more information on Cox Address Markers, or inquire about getting your own, at CoxAddressMarkers.com.

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