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Check Out Greater Boston's 10 Most Iconic Signs

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There is much that makes our region unique in terms of architecture and streetscapes, yeah? One thing often overlooked amid the 17th-century history and the gleaming 'scrapers and the lovely parks and the space-savers is the signage of Greater Boston. We got signs, alright, signs recognizable the world over, such as the Cheers one in Beacon Hill or the one smiling over Fenway Park. There are also signs known to everyone from eastern Mass., and probably to everyone who has passed through, including the Citgo lantern above Kenmore and the North End arrows. Come along, then, and follow our directions to the Hub's 10 most iconic signs.


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1. Citgo

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660 Beacon Street, Boston University
Boston, MA 02215

It's perhaps the region's most iconic sign: the Citgo one in Kenmore Square in Boston. It dates from 1965, when it replaced the old Cities Service (that company created Citgo then for its marketing division). In July 2010, the 3,600-square-foot sign's LED lights replaced with more technologically advanced and environmentally-friendly ones.

2. Paramount Theatre

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559 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02111

Emerson College led a major renovation of the theater during the latter half of the last decade. It grandly reopened in March 2010, signage lighted up and all.

3. Cheers

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84 Beacon Street
Boston, MA 02108

Immortalized in the opening credits of the sitcom of the same name from 1982 to 1983, the sign hangs outside the real-life Cheers Beacon Hill (formerly the Bull & Finch).

4. Boston Common

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1 Park Street
Boston, MA 02108

There are various signs denoting America's oldest public park, but our favorite is the worn one outside of the Park Street Church. We like the prominence of the date (1634) and the subservience of all the fine print about the city.

5. Colonial Mile Markers

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366 Centre Street
Boston, MA 02130

They dot the region, but we picked this one in Jamaica Plain. Both William Dawes and Paul Revere likely road past it on that fateful April 1775 night, the then-40-year-old block telling them Boston was four miles that-a way.

6. Prudential Center Tower

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800 Boylston Street, The Shops at the Prudential Center
Boston, MA 02199

Say what you will about the aggressive blandness of the skyscraper itself, its "Prudential" looms higher over the region than any other sign we can think of.

7. Cambridge Savings Bank

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1374 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138

The can't-miss cap to Harvard Square comes with a digital clock more than five stories above the street.

8. Dewey Cheetham & Howe

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5 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

Say it fast. It's there in the window above the intersection of Brattle and JFK streets in Harvard Square; and it marks the offices of the business operation behind the old NPR show "Car Talk."

9. Fenway Park

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4 Yawkey Way
Boston, MA 02215

The 102-year-old park has this iconic sign above all the pennant and Series banners. (Honorable mention: the "Welcome to Fenway Park" one.)

10. First Flag Mural

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63 Union Square
Somerville, MA 02143

You can't miss it going into Union Square (or out of): the mural depicting the first-ever raising of what we now know as the American flag, on July 1, 1776.

11. North End Italian Arrows

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Hanover Street & Parmenter Street
Boston, MA 02113

Like signage flame to tourist moths, these faux directions to various Italian areas and regions are a major draw in the North End.

12. Boston Wharf Industrial Real Estate

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Congress Street & Sleeper Street
Boston, MA 02210

The three-level neon sign looms over the intersection of the Congress Street Bridge and Forth Point Channel, and marks a kind of unofficial welcome to that ever-trendier area.

13. Mayflower Poultry Co.

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621 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02141
(617) 547-9191

The Mayflower Poultry Co.'s "Live Poultry Fresh Killed" sign has found its way onto T-shirts and hats, even underwear; and, strangely enough, into the hearts of generations of Cantabrigians.

14. Magazine Shell Gas Station

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207 Magazine Street
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 354-5565
Visit Website

The bright, um, shell-shaped sign is kind of Cambridge's answer to the Citgo sign in Kenmore.

15. Sheraton Commander Hotel

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16 Garden Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 547-4800
Visit Website

The two-tiered sign for the hotel of the same name looks down on a corner of Cambridge Common.

16. Coolidge Corner Theatre

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290 Harvard Street
Brookline, MA 02446
(617) 734-2500
Visit Website

The incandescently neon sign marks the Boston area's only nonprofit independent movie theater.

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1. Citgo

660 Beacon Street, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215

It's perhaps the region's most iconic sign: the Citgo one in Kenmore Square in Boston. It dates from 1965, when it replaced the old Cities Service (that company created Citgo then for its marketing division). In July 2010, the 3,600-square-foot sign's LED lights replaced with more technologically advanced and environmentally-friendly ones.

660 Beacon Street, Boston University
Boston, MA 02215

2. Paramount Theatre

559 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111

Emerson College led a major renovation of the theater during the latter half of the last decade. It grandly reopened in March 2010, signage lighted up and all.

559 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02111

3. Cheers

84 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108

Immortalized in the opening credits of the sitcom of the same name from 1982 to 1983, the sign hangs outside the real-life Cheers Beacon Hill (formerly the Bull & Finch).

84 Beacon Street
Boston, MA 02108

4. Boston Common

1 Park Street, Boston, MA 02108

There are various signs denoting America's oldest public park, but our favorite is the worn one outside of the Park Street Church. We like the prominence of the date (1634) and the subservience of all the fine print about the city.

1 Park Street
Boston, MA 02108

5. Colonial Mile Markers

366 Centre Street, Boston, MA 02130

They dot the region, but we picked this one in Jamaica Plain. Both William Dawes and Paul Revere likely road past it on that fateful April 1775 night, the then-40-year-old block telling them Boston was four miles that-a way.

366 Centre Street
Boston, MA 02130

6. Prudential Center Tower

800 Boylston Street, The Shops at the Prudential Center, Boston, MA 02199

Say what you will about the aggressive blandness of the skyscraper itself, its "Prudential" looms higher over the region than any other sign we can think of.

800 Boylston Street, The Shops at the Prudential Center
Boston, MA 02199

7. Cambridge Savings Bank

1374 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138

The can't-miss cap to Harvard Square comes with a digital clock more than five stories above the street.

1374 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138

8. Dewey Cheetham & Howe

5 John F. Kennedy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

Say it fast. It's there in the window above the intersection of Brattle and JFK streets in Harvard Square; and it marks the offices of the business operation behind the old NPR show "Car Talk."

5 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

9. Fenway Park

4 Yawkey Way, Boston, MA 02215

The 102-year-old park has this iconic sign above all the pennant and Series banners. (Honorable mention: the "Welcome to Fenway Park" one.)

4 Yawkey Way
Boston, MA 02215

10. First Flag Mural

63 Union Square, Somerville, MA 02143

You can't miss it going into Union Square (or out of): the mural depicting the first-ever raising of what we now know as the American flag, on July 1, 1776.

63 Union Square
Somerville, MA 02143

11. North End Italian Arrows

Hanover Street & Parmenter Street, Boston, MA 02113

Like signage flame to tourist moths, these faux directions to various Italian areas and regions are a major draw in the North End.

Hanover Street & Parmenter Street
Boston, MA 02113

12. Boston Wharf Industrial Real Estate

Congress Street & Sleeper Street, Boston, MA 02210

The three-level neon sign looms over the intersection of the Congress Street Bridge and Forth Point Channel, and marks a kind of unofficial welcome to that ever-trendier area.

Congress Street & Sleeper Street
Boston, MA 02210

13. Mayflower Poultry Co.

621 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02141

The Mayflower Poultry Co.'s "Live Poultry Fresh Killed" sign has found its way onto T-shirts and hats, even underwear; and, strangely enough, into the hearts of generations of Cantabrigians.

621 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02141

14. Magazine Shell Gas Station

207 Magazine Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

The bright, um, shell-shaped sign is kind of Cambridge's answer to the Citgo sign in Kenmore.

207 Magazine Street
Cambridge, MA 02139

15. Sheraton Commander Hotel

16 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

The two-tiered sign for the hotel of the same name looks down on a corner of Cambridge Common.

16 Garden Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

16. Coolidge Corner Theatre

290 Harvard Street, Brookline, MA 02446

The incandescently neon sign marks the Boston area's only nonprofit independent movie theater.

290 Harvard Street
Brookline, MA 02446