The giant red arrow sculpture was constructed outside a shopping center on Carlisle Boulevard. Photograph by Alamy / Richard Ellis.
HERE’S THE LEGEND: IN 1961, CHARACTERS FROM the short-lived Little Beaver Town adventure park, in Tijeras Canyon, shot a huge bow and landed a giant arrow in a base of fresh cement where Albuquerque’s Carlisle Boulevard roars past Indian School Road. Here’s the truth, says Robin Sproul, son of Elmer Sproul, a developer of the arrow’s Indian Plaza Shopping Center. His dad, grandfather, and uncle owned American Builders and used a red arrow as their logo. “It was on billboards all over town,” he says. They figured a real arrow, supersized, on a quiet corner of what was then the outskirts of the city would draw attention. They buried the nose of a telephone pole for ballast, fashioned a metal skin for the arrowhead and fletching along its soaring tail, and added neon lights that proved too expensive to maintain. In the 1980s, some of the plaza’s tenants hoped to add a few parking spots by ripping out the arrow. Robin went to the city and obtained landmark status for it. “It’s an icon,” he says. “When it was built, there was no freeway, hardly any businesses out there. It really stood out.”
The giant red arrow stands before a Whole Foods Market at 2103 Carlisle Blvd. NE, in Albuquerque. Take a selfie with it.