Boston Citgo sign

The Boston Citgo sign is a large, double-faced sign featuring the logo of the oil company Citgo that overlooks Kenmore Square in Boston. The sign was installed in 1940 and updated with Citgo's present logo in 1965. The sign has become a landmark of Boston through its appearance in the background of Boston Red Sox games at Fenway Park.

Boston Citgo sign
2017 Citgo sign Kenmore Square Boston
General information
Location660 Beacon Street, Boston, Massachusetts
Coordinates42°20′55″N 71°05′44″W / 42.348712°N 71.095619°WCoordinates: 42°20′55″N 71°05′44″W / 42.348712°N 71.095619°W


The Citgo sign is a two-sided, 60-foot (18 m), square, white sign with the Citgo logo, called the trimark, and the word mark CITGO. The sign advertises the oil company Citgo, which is a subsidiary of Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. The sign features thousands of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) that turn off every night at midnight. The current sign was unveiled in March 2005 after a six-month restoration project.[1] LEDs were selected for their durability, energy efficiency, intensity, and ease of maintenance. On October 15, 2008, a small electrical fire inside the sign caused approximately $5,000 worth of damage, partially melting the plastic and leaving visible smoke damage.[2] The Citgo sign was shut down for several months beginning in July 2010 to replace the LEDs with a newer version hopefully more capable of withstanding the winds and temperature extremes that affect the sign. Earlier versions featured neon lighting; the pre-2005 sign contained 5,878 glass tubes with a total length of more than 5 miles (8.0 km).[3]

Citgo Sign Profile
Profile view revealing inner steel skeleton

The Citgo sign is known nationally for appearing above the Green Monster during televised games of the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. The sign has been nicknamed "See It Go," especially when a home run is hit during a game.[4] This visibility has led to the installation of replica signs.


The first sign, featuring the Cities Service green-and-white trefoil logo, was built in 1940. That sign was replaced with the trimark in 1965.[5] Although there was, originally, a Cities Service station on the ground floor of the building, there is no associated Citgo gas station, so the sign is now a historical landmark. In 1979, Governor Edward J. King ordered the sign turned off as a symbol of energy conservation.

Four years later, Citgo attempted to disassemble the weather-beaten sign and was surprised to be met with widespread public affection for the sign and protest at its threatened removal. The Boston Landmarks Commission ordered its disassembly postponed while the issue was debated. The sign was refurbished and relit by Citgo in 1983, an event that drew a cheering crowd of 1,000 fans of the sign,[5] and has remained in operation ever since.

In September 2006, Jerry McDermott, a Boston city councillor, proposed that the sign be removed in response to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez's insults toward U.S. President George W. Bush. McDermott also suggested draping an American flag or Boston Red Sox banner over the sign until Chávez was out of office.[6]

In July 2016, the Boston Landmarks Commission voted to grant preliminary landmark status to the sign. The preliminary status prevented the sign from being removed from the building until the commission conducted a three-month study, to be followed by a vote on permanent landmark status in October 2016.[7]

In October 2016, The Boston Globe reported that local developer Related Beal purchased the building on which the sign sits as part of a $140 million, nine-building deal.[8] Under former owner Boston University, Citgo paid a below market rate of $250,000 a year for the sign.[9] Beal agreed on March 15, 2017, to retain the sign for "decades to come."[10] On November 13, 2018, the Boston Landmarks Commission voted unanimously to designate the sign as an official Boston Landmark.[11] That action was subsequently vetoed in late November by Mayor of Boston Marty Walsh.[12] Walsh's veto was coincident with an agreement between Citgo and Beal on a lease that will allow the sign to remain in place for another 30 years.[12]


Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros, has a replica of the sign behind left field. Replicas of the sign also appear in two minor league baseball ballparks. Hadlock Field, home of the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs in Portland, Maine, has a replica of the Citgo sign above its replica of the Green Monster, the Maine Monster. The Double-A Astros affiliate Corpus Christi Hooks have a 50-foot (15 m) square replica of the sign at their ballpark, Whataburger Field.[13] The association with Fenway Park and the Red Sox is so strong that some local Little League fields often are decorated with replicas of the Citgo sign.

The sign was highlighted in the 1968 short film Go, Go Citgo, a 1983 Life Magazine photograph feature, and the 1989 feature film Field of Dreams. The sign is caricatured in Neal Stephenson's 1984 book The Big U as "the Big Wheel sign," which is worshipped by members of a fictional American Megaversity fraternity.

See also


  1. ^ Tench, Megan (March 16, 2005). "Kenmore Sq. sign gets high-tech makeover". The Boston Globe. Retrieved September 24, 2006.
  2. ^ "Omen? Citgo sign burns in small fire". The Boston Globe. October 15, 2008. Retrieved October 15, 2008.
  3. ^ ", Company History, Sign Facts". Citgo. Archived from the original on January 16, 2017. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
  4. ^ "The Citgo Sign in Boston". Boston's Pastime. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  5. ^ a b LaFrance, Adrienne (July 14, 2016). "The Blinking Jewel in Boston's Skyline". The Atlantic. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  6. ^ "Boston Official Wants Citgo Sign Removed". Turnto10. August 22, 2006. Retrieved September 24, 2006.
  7. ^ Handy, Delores (July 13, 2016). "Citgo Sign Is Granted Preliminary 'Landmark' Status". WBUR-FM. Retrieved July 14, 2016.
  8. ^ Logan, Tim (October 21, 2016). "Sale finalized for Kenmore buildings, including Citgo sign location". The Boston Globe. Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  9. ^ Acitelli, Tom (February 28, 2017). "Citgo sign's fate hinges on outcome of rent dispute". Curbed. Retrieved February 28, 2019.
  10. ^ Vaccaro, Adam; Logan, Tim (March 15, 2017). "CITGO sign will stay in Kenmore Square: City announces a deal". WCVB-TV. Retrieved March 16, 2017.
  11. ^ Buell, Spencer (November 14, 2018). "The Citgo Sign Will (Probably) Finally Become a Landmark". Boston Magazine. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  12. ^ a b Logan, Tim (November 29, 2018). "Citgo sign will stay, but not as a landmark". The Boston Globe. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  13. ^ White, Heather Ann (April 29, 2007). "Hooks team gets its own landmark Citgo sign". Corpus Christi Caller-Times. Retrieved April 11, 2011.

External links

Arthur J. Krim

Arthur J. Krim is a geographer and architectural historian. He was a founding member of the Society for Commercial Archeology, a preservationist group.

Krim has taught at the Boston Architectural Center, Clark University, and Salve Regina University, and has consulted for the Cambridge Historical Commission, Massachusetts Historical Commission and others. He has published in Landscape, the Journal of Cultural Geography, and the Journal of Historical Geography. In 2016, he was an advocate for designating the Boston Citgo sign, which The Atlantic called "one of the hub's best known pieces of technology" but was threatened with dismantling, as a historic landmark. The Boston Globe referred to Krim as "the sign's unofficial historian".


Citgo Petroleum Corporation (or Citgo, stylized as CITGO) is a United States-based refiner, transporter and marketer of transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals and other industrial products. Headquartered in the Energy Corridor area of Houston, it is majority-owned by PDVSA, a state-owned company of the Venezuelan government (although due to U.S. sanctions, in 2019, they no longer economically benefit from Citgo.)

Green Monster

The Green Monster is a popular nickname for the 37.2 feet (11.3 m) high left field wall at Fenway Park, home to the Boston Red Sox baseball team. The wall is 310 feet (94.5 meters) from home plate and is a popular target for right-handed hitters.

Jerry McDermott

Jerome "Jerry" P. McDermott is the 22nd and current High Sheriff of Norfolk County. He previously served on the Boston City Council and as the executive director of South Shore Habitat for Humanity. He also served as an aide to Senator Scott Brown and worked in community relations and economic development for Eversource. In March 2018 he was appointed as chief of staff in the Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance in the Charlie Baker administration. He was appointed sheriff by Baker in December 2018.McDermott grew up in the Allston-Brighton region of Boston, where he was involved in groups such as the Ward 22 Democratic Committee and the Oak Square YMCA.His career began as a legislative aide to Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II, and he later aided Boston City Council President Bruce Bolling.

While serving on the city council, he was a registered Democrat, but unenrolled from the party in 2010. He registered as a Republican in 2013. In 2006, as a councillor, he proposed that the Boston Citgo sign be removed in response to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez's insults toward U.S. President George W. Bush. McDermott also suggested draping an American flag or Boston Red Sox banner over the sign until Chávez was out of office.McDermott lives in Westwood, Massachusetts.

The Big U

The Big U (1984) is a novel by American writer Neal Stephenson. His first published novel, it is a satire of campus life.

U.S. Route 20

U.S. Route 20 or U.S. Highway 20 (US 20) is an east–west United States highway that stretches from the Pacific Northwest all the way to New England. The "0" in its route number indicates that US 20 is a coast-to-coast route and major route. Spanning 3,365 miles (5,415 km), it is the longest road in the United States, and the route is roughly parallel to that of the newer Interstate 90 (I-90), which is in turn the longest Interstate Highway in the U.S. There is a discontinuity in the official designation of US 20 through Yellowstone National Park, with unnumbered roads used to traverse the park.

US 20 and US 30 break the general U.S. Route numbering rules in Oregon, since US 30 actually starts north of US 20 in Astoria, and runs parallel to the north throughout the state (the Columbia River and Interstate 84). The two run concurrently and continue in the correct positioning near Caldwell, Idaho. This is because US 20 was not a planned coast-to-coast route while US 30 was. US 20 originally ended at the eastern entrance of Yellowstone Park; it was extended in 1940.The highway's eastern terminus is in Boston, Massachusetts, at Kenmore Square, where it meets Route 2. Its western terminus is in Newport, Oregon, at an intersection with US 101, within a mile of the Pacific Ocean.

Yawkey Way

Yawkey Way is the former name of a short street located in the Fenway–Kenmore neighborhood of the American city of Boston, Massachusetts. It was originally a continuation of Jersey Street, part of the Back Bay scheme of alphabetical streets, until 1977, when the two blocks immediately adjacent to Fenway Park were renamed for Tom Yawkey, owner of the Boston Red Sox from 1933 to 1976. It ran for two blocks from Brookline Avenue in the north to Boylston Street in the south, where it became Jersey Street.

On April 26, 2018, the city of Boston announced it would revert the name of the street to its original name of Jersey Street. The change became official on May 3.Fenway Park's address was 4 Yawkey Way. The original address was 24 Jersey Street. After the 2018 name change, the park's address is now 4 Jersey Street.

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Pennants (14)
Division championships (10)
Wild card berths (7)
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