So I woke up a few weekends ago to the bittersweet news that the historic neon sign on the Schrafft’s building was being replaced with an LED replica.
A little history for those of you who don’t know the sign: Schrafft’s was a Boston-based candy company founded in the nineteenth century by William F. Schrafft. The company located its manufacturing plant — emblazoned with its name in pink neon and distinctive typeface — on Main Street in the city’s Charlestown neighborhood. The Flatley Company purchased and renovated the building for office use in 1984.
While I love nothing better than to hear about a neon sign lovingly restored, I have to be realistic. Schrafft’s is not the first neon-to-LED conversion in Boston — I’m thinking of you, CITGO sign — and it won’t be the last. And kudos to the folks at Flatley for respecting the sign enough to install a faithful replica.
“From afar, you’re not even going to be able to tell the difference,” Flatley CEO John Roche told the Boston Herald. “It’s exactly what was on top of the clock tower. We realize it’s an iconic sign, and we were very, very sensitive to recreating what was up there.”
The disassembled sign, which outlived the company it advertised, is now safely in storage. Yesterday I had the opportunity for a behind-the-scenes glimpse; you can see some of my photos on Facebook and Instagram.
The next challenge is to find a good home for the original sign. I’ll do my best to chronicle that process here, so stay tuned.