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Bostonians Seek Landmark Status for Beloved Citgo Sign

'Beacon for the region' has been there since 1965
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 14, 2016 2:32 AM CDT
Bostonians Seek Landmark Status for Beloved Citgo Sign
Fans stand prior to a baseball game, with the iconic Citgo sign in the background, at Fenway Park in Boston.    (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

(Newser) – Outsiders may not realize it at first, but the Citgo sign that has stood over Boston's Kenmore Square since 1965 is a beloved part of the city's heritage—and Bostonians won't let it go without a fight. After a proposed building sale put the 3,600-square-foot LED sign's future in doubt, causing a public outcry and an online petition, the Boston Landmarks Commission has agreed to investigate whether the sign should be given landmark status, NPR reports. The sign "has encouraged many thousands of Marathon runners and its gleaming red triangle has presided over countless innings at Fenway Park," states the petition, which calls the sign a "beacon for the region" and a landmark that "says 'Boston' just as much as Old North Church and the Swan Boats."

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The petition, which has been signed by more than 5,000 people, was sparked by Boston University's plan to sell properties, including 660 Beacon, the building under the sign, which means the sign could have been blocked or even removed, the Boston Globe reports. The commission's decision offers the sign temporary protection, with landmark status possible after what officials describe as a "very long process." At Boston magazine, Kyle Scott Clauss notes that with a red-hot housing market and a construction boom chipping away at much of what makes Boston Boston, the fight over the Citgo sign isn't just about a "big, red triangle in the sky," it's a "proxy war for Boston's soul." (Archaeologists have been digging at another Boston landmark: Malcolm X's childhood home.)

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