Possible Landmark Designation Coming to Boston’s Iconic Citgo Sign



Citgo Petroleum Corporation is a United States-based refiner, transporter, and marketer of transportation fuels, petrochemicals, lubricants, and other industrial products. It’s been one of the most recognizable brands across the oil and gasoline sector and has been in operation since 1910.

Now, though the company remains successful, its branding and image could be at risk in certain parts of the country. Nearly 85% of people surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that signs can convey the personality or character of the business itself. One of the most iconic images located across Boston’s skyline has been the Citgo sign. According to Curbed Boston, the sign could soon be drastically altered.

The Boston Landmarks Commission will hold a hearing regarding the fate of Kenmore Square’s famed Citgo sign. If the vote is passed and the sign is labeled a historic landmark, the Citgo sign will remain untouched. If not, the new owners can do with it what they please.

“The sign has become a cultural symbol to the people of Greater Boston that goes far beyond gasoline,” stated a Landmarks Commission 51-page report, citing its status as Boston’s “only surviving ‘spectacular’ neon sign.”

In 2016, developer Related Beal purchased several buildings in the area from Boston University, including 660 Beacon Street, where the 60-foot-by-60-foot Citgo sign has stood strong since 1965. Additionally, Related Beal does not support landmarking the sign because they believe the regulations tied to preserving the sign could create a so-called protection zone to preserve views of it, as well, meaning that new developments in the future might not be able to go up if they interrupt views of the sign.

The hearing won’t produce a final decision, however, as Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the City Council would still have to approve any landmark designations.

The Boston Preservation Alliance, a community group, has collected 16,000 signatures in favor of a landmark designation for the sign.

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