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Hite TV sign becomes piece of South End history

Posted by Johanna Kaiser  August 29, 2012 05:27 PM

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(Photo by Johanna Kaiser for boston.com)

The Hite Radio and TV sign was removed Wednesday and donated to the South End Historical Society. The Hite Radio and TV building is set to be demolished next week.

The black and white sign that has long advertised television and radio repair in the South End was plucked from its perch at the corner of Washington and Worcester streets Wednesday to become the one relic of Hite Radio and TV that will survive the building’s demolition.

The South End landmark--a stout one-story white building amid more demure multistory buildings--offered television and radio repairs and sales for decades before closing last year and is now being demolished to make way for a six-story condo building.

A portion of its sign bearing the Hite Radio and TV name in lighted writing with a now mostly missing border of bulbs will stay close to home as the latest addition to the South End Historical Society’s collection.

“It’s a big part of the recent history of the South End and its juxtaposition to the buildings around it show how the South End has changed in recent history,” said Hope Shannon, executive director of the organization, noting that the city did not protect buildings in the 1960s and '70s as it does now, making for a more “eclectic” look in the neighborhood.

The the building’s new owner, David Goldman of New Boston Ventures, offered the sign to the society.

“I’m sad to see the business go because it is representative of the South End of 30 to 40 years ago,” said Shannon.

“It was a different era of the South End and it has sort of faded out,” she said.

Neighbors and passersby gathered to watch as a crane lifted the sign from its snug spot on the roof and carefully set it on the ground, creating a blank spot in the recognizable storefront.

“They’ve been a good neighbor and it’s obviously a part of the South End’s history” Heather Sears, who lives across the street, said as she snapped photos of the sign being hooked up to the crane.

Still, Sears said the business seemed “irrelevant” in today’s high-tech world and was looking forward to the space being put to good use with a building that better complemented the neighborhood.

As for the sign, it will arrive at the historical society’s Massachusetts Avenue office Thursday, but Shannon says they are still trying to figure out how to get it through its doors and where to put it once they do.

“We’re just trying to give it a home to make sure it’s safe,” said Shannon.
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Twitter: @Your_SouthEnd
E-mail: johanna.yourtown@gmail.com

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