Web Analytics and Web Statistics by NextSTAT The Boston Sports Nut: The John Hancock Building

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The John Hancock Building

I was never aware of the following information regarding the color lights on the John Hancock Building in Boston.

The Berkeley Building (also known as the Old John Hancock Building) is a 26-story, 495-foot (151 m) structure located at 200 Berkeley Street, Boston, Massachusetts. It is the second of the three John Hancock buildings built in Boston; it was succeeded by the John Hancock Tower. The building is well-known for the weather beacon at its summit, which broadcasts different light patterns as weather forecasts. The Berkeley Building is currently the 18th-tallest building in the city.

The older and shorter of the two John Hancock buildings uses red and blue lights in its beacon to give a local three-hour weather forecast.

Flashing bIt is topped by a weather beacon with red and blue lights, which use a code to present the local weather forecast, using a popular rhyme as a mnemonic:
Steady blue, clear view.
Flashing blue, clouds due.
Steady red, rain ahead.
Flashing red, snow instead.

During baseball season, flashing red means the Boston Red Sox game has been called off on account of weather.


The beacon was first lit on March 15th 1950 and was controlled using forecasts from a meteorological agency located on the 26th floor. It was kept lit until 1973 when it was shut off to set an example during an energy crisis which also temporarily shut off the famed Kenmore Square Citgo sign. The beacon was re-lit in 1983 and has continued to display the weather forecast ever since.

In October 2004, the beacon flashed red and blue to commemorate the Boston Red Sox World Series victory. This was the first time the color scheme changed since the beacon was lit in 1950. A new line was added to the poem accordingly:
Flashing Blue and Red, when The Curse of the Bambino is dead!
The beacon again flashed red and blue when the Red Sox won the 2007 World Series. Blue and red, the Curse is dead!

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