Dorchester's Walter Baker Factory Sign Lights Up For First Time Since 1966

Photo: Chris Fama / WBZ NewsRadio

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — It was a light long considered to have gone out, but 56 years later the Walter Baker Chocolate Factory sign in Dorchester's Lower Mills neighborhood is about to breathe new life.

The iconic sign is lighting back up Friday night, thanks to an ongoing effort from residents who wanted to bring back something bright to the neighborhood.

WBZ's Chris Fama spoke to D Michael Skillin and Linda Lewi of the Lower Mills Civic Association about their revitalization effort, and unique method they used to raise money for the project.

Skillin says he and late member of the LMCA, Terry Dolan, came up with a fundraising idea similar to the premise of Wheel of Fortune, where donators can buy bulbs and vowels of the sign's letters.

"$5,000 bought you the word, $1,000 bought you a letter, and $50 bought a bulb," Skillman said. With no surprise, the residents of Lower Mills came together and funded the project.

"This is a shining light on a hill of what is possible to bring back a neighborhood. It's just like a ray of hope— and that good things can happen," Lewi said.

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The lighting of the Walter Baker Factory Sign takes place Friday night at 6:30 p.m. at the Walter Baker Artists' Lofts, celebrating the Lower Mills community with food from local restaurants, hand-made crafts, and Walter Baker Chocolate Factory memorabilia. Starting Friday, the sign will light up once the sun goes down each evening.

The LMCA says local donations, a Community Preservation Grant from the City of Boston, and partnerships with New Atlantic Development and Dot Art, Inc. made the spectacle possible.

WBZ's Chris Fama (@CFamaWBZ) reports.

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