Should the Citgo Sign Be Saved?

Citgo Sign Boston
The view from Fenway Park won't be the same if the iconic Citgo sign goes dark. © Kim Knox Beckius

Boston’s iconic Citgo sign is endangered. Will you support efforts to #savethesign? As New England landmarks go, the Citgo sign that looms above Kenmore Square and adds a rosy glow to Boston’s nighttime skyline isn’t exactly the most attractive. Yet, more than 14,000 people have already signed a petition supporting preservation of this illuminated billboard, which some fans refer to as Boston’s “north star.” I’m inclined to join them. Will you?

I first learned the Citgo sign might go dark yesterday, when I spotted this tweet posted by Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman. Apparently, the building (660 Beacon) that supports what is believed to be New England’s largest sign was sold last fall, and the new owners want Citgo to cough up more dough for this prime piece of advertising real estate. This Boston Globe story takes a look at the current state of the impasse.

The Boston Preservation Alliance is leading the charge to petition city officials to grant the Citgo sign landmark status. It’s a process, they state, that first requires Boston Landmarks Commission approval. In addition to signing the petition, Citgo sign supporters can email their comments to blc@boston.gov. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has already said he would support such a designation.

While some locals denounce the 60- by 60-foot sign as an eyesore not worthy of its spot in Boston’s landscape, Edelman and Walsh aren’t the only ones backing the campaign to #savethesign, which has now captured interest on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. These social media sites are helpful sources for updates on the fight. Boston Marathon runnersincluding 2013 bombing survivor Dave Fortierare among the strongest supporters of keeping the LED lights shining (neon tubes were retired in 2005). The Citgo sign is a beacon that urges runners toward the finish line, just as it is a symbol of homecoming for so many who’ve called Boston “home.”

Built in 1940 atop a Citgo divisional office in the city, this Boston icon has been compared to Big Ben in London and the Eiffel Tower in Paris, has survived five hurricanes and even has its own free-to-download screensaver. Knowing the tenacious spirit of Bostonians, I’m betting it’s never going away.

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About Kim Knox Beckius 20 Articles
Kim Knox Beckius has been sharing New England with the world since the Internet was practically brand new (aka before Google). Here at Everything New England, she showcases the best the region has to offer residents and visitors.