CITGO Logo History

Ever since 1965, the CITGO sign has held a place deep in the hearts of Boston residents.

Photographs of the sign appear on postcards, in newspapers, movies, books, tourism brochures and even in Life magazine. During the day, the CITGO sign sits impressively on its perch in Kenmore Square. At night, its pulsing red, blue and white neon are visible for miles around. Red Sox fans can't see past left field at Fenway Park without taking in the majestic sign.

Runners in the Boston Marathon all have a story about the sign.

"I saw it in my 20th mile, looming like a pyramid above Kenmore Square. It gave me strength, and I knew the race's end was near," said one marathon runner.

A Sign Of The Times

CITGO decided to dismantle the deteriorating sign in 1983, but the people of Boston came to its rescue. Claiming the sign was an excellent example of urban neon art, and as Boston as baked beans, they stopped the demolition crew. Groups fought to have the sign declared a landmark.

It quickly became clear Bostonians were fond of their sign. CITGO refurbished the sign and, with the flip of a switch, Kenmore Square was bright again in the night sky.

Today the sign still blinks out its message - lifting a name, personality and friendly face high in the Boston sky.

Sign Facts
You already know it as the brightest beacon on the Boston skyline. But here are a few things you might not know about the familiar CITGO sign.

1. The sign was built over a Cities Service divisional office in 1940.

2. Said to be the largest sign in New England, the CITGO sign is double-faced and measures 60 feet by 60 feet.

3. The computer-operated sign illuminates the night from dusk till midnight.

4. The sign contains more than five miles of neon tubes - 5,878 glass tubes of neon - that are lit by 250 high-voltage transformers.

5. It has withstood five hurricanes; all packing winds over 80 mph.

6. The sign was deemed an "Objet d' Heart" by Time magazine, photographed in a 1983 Life magazine and featured in the New York Times.

7. In 1968, the critically acclaimed short film "Go, Go CITGO" captured honors at the Yale Film Festival. The flick featured the sign along with music by the Monkees and Indian sitarist Ravi Shankar.

8. In 1987, an animated film was made by a local artist to immortalize Kenmore Square's "neon god." Inspired by Simon & Garfunkel's "The Sound of Silence," the three-minute film "CITGO Dance" won an award from the Artists Foundation's Massachusetts Artists Fellowship Program.

9. Every time a baseball player hits a home run over the left field wall at Boston's Fenway Park, CITGO is seen by thousands of fans at the stadium and on television.

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