Pillsbury sign lights up the riverfront once again

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November 3, 2015
By: Eric Best
Eric Best

Just as life returns to the Pillsbury A Mill this year, light has also returned to the mill’s iconic sign.

A few hundred onlookers cheered as the Pillsbury’s Best Flour sign was relit after going dark in 2010.

Over the past couple years, Plymouth, Minn.-based Dominium has redeveloped the A Mill complex into more than 250 units of affordable artist lofts. The project involved relighting all the historic mill buildings, including the sign.

St. Paul-based Lawrence Sign was selected to refurbish the riverfront landmark atop the development in collaboration with the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission.

A Nov. 2 relighting event brought out residents, photographers and those with connections to or stories of the riverfront landmark and longstanding mill. Some onlookers even brought Pillsbury Doughboy dolls or memorabilia to pose in their photos.

Lawrence Sign said in a May statement that workers have replaced the nonfunctioning neon lighting system with LED lights, which will use 5-10 times less power, resulting in an annual savings of over $14,000 in energy costs.

The first Pillsbury sign was created in 1920, but was replaced in 1940 with the current sign that has lit the Minneapolis riverfront skyline for 70 years. In 2010, former building owner Schafer Richardson stopped lighting the sign after an agreement with General Mills, Pillsbury’s parent company, expired.

Video by Mill City Times