Bringing the John Hancock Sign Back to the Boston Skyline

Bringing the John Hancock Sign Back to the Boston Skyline

For over twenty years, the John Hancock sign sat atop the center field scoreboard at Fenway Park.

25,000 pounds of steel, 26,000 feet of electrical wiring, 3800 feet of data wire, 2000 feet of liquid tight, one 500-foot, 770-ton mobile crane, 8 trade partners, 5 months of planning, and 2 days of installation later, the John Hancock sign now has a new home in Boston’s skyline.

At 11:45 PM on Friday, October 27th, Commodore Builders officially began the installation of the 70’ long x 23’ tall sign on the original John Hancock headquarters at 200 Berkley Street. Located on the 27th and 28th floors of 200 Berkley, the sign is installed adjacent to the ­mechanical penthouse. This location required significant coordination around the existing systems, ductwork, and piping.

At 400 ft, the sign installation also posed major safety challenges. Our safety team worked closely with our team and our trade partners to review every piece of equipment that would be used, from harnesses and ropes to gloves and helmets. Even the nuts and bolts, literally, were a major consideration. Each steel worker was equipped with a safety helmet with a chin strap and safety cables to secure their tools to their harness. Safety was a top priority of every person on site, and we thank our safety team for their herculean preparation effort.

Once John Hancock received approval from the City of Boston, our team got to work. We began collaborating with Poyant Signs to start the engineering process to restore the sign. At the same time, LeMessurier Consultants began designing the steel supports. We worked with Lawton Welding to create shop drawings during the coordination process.

Between Wednesday, October 25th and Friday, October 27th, steel workers assembled portions of the steel frame that will support the sign. Shaughnessy Crane arrived with their mobile 770 crane, the largest mobile crane in the area, late Friday evening. From 11:45 PM Friday – 7:00 AM Saturday, the crane was assembled and raised to its full height of 500 ft.

The structural steel supports were lifted in place in three frames. Five of the seven sections of sign letters were installed on the steel frames

at street level prior to erection. The remaining two sections of the sign sections were hoisted by the crane and bolted to the steel structure at the 27th and 28th floor level. The 26,000 feet of electrical wiring were then thread through the tubes, ready for Poyant to begin wiring.

We are proud of this successful installation and look forward to seeing the John Hancock sign among the city skyline for years to come.

The success of this project is a direct result of a commitment to excellence and the spirit of collaboration. We would like to thank each one of our partners for their hard work and dedication and to congratulate John Hancock on this milestone.