Domino Sugars Sign Turns 65 Today

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domino-smallMonday brings a landmark anniversary for a Baltimore landmark: The Domino Sugars sign turns 65.

Seen from around Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, the red-orange neon sign marks the location of the largest sugar refinery in the United States and one of the largest manufacturers still operating in Baltimore.

Located at 1100 Key Highway East, the refinery has been operating for 94 years, and the sign was first illuminated on April 25, 1951. It was temporarily turned off during the energy crisis in the 1970s.

The sign has been featured in two Barry Levinson movies, Diner and Tin Men; David Simon’s The Wire and Homicide: Life on the Street; and the movie He Said, She Said. Birds have built nests in its letters. In 2014, Domino’s parent, ASR Group, installed solar panels to help power the lights at night.

The sign measures 70 feet by120 feet, consists of 650 glass tubes, and takes 15 minutes to illuminate. The largest single letter is the D, which is 40 feet high.

Artkraft Strauss Co. of New York built the sign and Triangle Sign of Baltimore installed and maintains it.

A neon sign in New York, the Pepsi-Cola sign in Long Island City, this month was designated a city landmark by New York’s Landmarks Preservation Commission. Baltimore’s Domino Sugars sign does not have similar landmark protection.

Ed Gunts

Ed Gunts

Ed Gunts is a local freelance writer and the former architecture critic for The Baltimore Sun.
Ed Gunts


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