KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City residents will soon see a familiar shape lighting the skyline again.
When the sun sets Friday, the Western Auto sign will be turned back on after years of darkness.
The sign, visible from a distance of 15 miles when lit, has been shut off since 2015, and since 2016 the Western Auto Lofts homeowners’ association has been raising money to get the 73-foot-tall symbol lit back up.
That required a lot of work. Thousands of lights, about 2,500, had to be switched out for LED bulbs. Workers also needed to replace an old catwalk.
The sign may look a little different than the last time residents saw it shining — the words ‘Western Auto’ will be lit in red, white and blue, rather than just red and warm, incandescent white as it was before.
The building, named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1988, was built in 1915 as the Coca-Cola building, designed by Arthur Tufts. It was renamed the Candler Building in 1932 and became the Western Auto building in 1951.
The sign was installed in 1952, using about 1,000 feet of neon tubing and 30 tons of steel. Crews needed five miles of wiring to connect all the light sockets in the sign. Each of the letters is 10 feet tall.