Boston Landmarks Commission Weighs Fate Over Iconic Citgo Sign

Commission studying whether the sign should qualify for landmark status

For decades the Citgo Sign has been an iconic figure of the Boston skyline.

But the Beacon Street building it sits on top of in Kenmore Square is being sold, and that puts the sign in jeopardy.

“I see it as a living part of the skyline, like a heartbeat, and it can’t speak for itself, and to lose it -- there's there’s some very quirky parts of Boston that we all love,” said sign proponent, Erika Tarlin.

Tuesday night, fans of the sign spoke out at the Boston Landmarks Commission, and the commission took the first step in possibly designating the sign a landmark, by voting to study the issue and see if it should qualify for landmark status.

“It has a pop art historic root in the 1960s popular culture and I think that’s where the sign’s great historic value lies,” said sign proponent, Arthur Krim.

Unanimously voting, the commission accepted petition for further study.

Designating the Citgo sign a landmark could make it harder for future owners of the building to take it down or even move it.

“We are optimistic. I have trouble believing anyone would want the Citgo sign to go down under their watch,” said Greg Galer of the Boston Preservation Alliance.

The Landmarks Commission said it could take three to six months to complete the study, before it comes back to the full commission for a vote whether to recommend to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh that it be designated a landmark.

“It pulsates, it’s alive, you know where you are when you see it," said Tarlin. "Sure it is just a sign, leave the politics, leave the gas company out of it, it is a symbol of Boston to a lot of people it would be a shame to lose it purely for development reasons.”

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