It's lit: First National Bank '1' sign again brightens St. Paul skyline

The 1st National Bank sign
The First National Bank sign was lit up once again on Tuesday in St. Paul. The skyline icon was damaged in a storm last year.
Sam Harper for MPR News

The glowing red "1" atop the First National Bank Building will be flashing again on the St. Paul skyline starting Tuesday night.

The 80-year-old landmark has been a fixture in St. Paul for generations, marking the core of the city's central business district.

It was turned off for about a decade during the energy crisis in the 1970s. Last winter, it was damaged in a storm and has been dark since, although it has been illuminated briefly recently for testing.

Building owner Madison Equities has now converted the iconic sign from fragile neon lighting to LED. It's part of a massive $12 million energy efficiency retrofit for the Depression Era bank building, which was the city's tallest until 1986.

The three-sided sign is 50 feet high and dates back to 1936, according to Madison Equities. It can be seen from up to 20 miles away from the ground and nearly 100 miles away by air, depending on the weather.

The relighting is being marked with a formal ceremony in downtown St. Paul, featuring Mayor Chris Coleman, as well as officials from Madison Equities and Xcel Energy.

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