Can I buy a vowel? Domino Sugar to donate pieces of its old Baltimore sign, and some could be sold

Pieces of Baltimore’s beloved old “Domino Sugars” sign, which is being replaced, will be donated — and some could be put up for sale.

Domino Sugar will donate the 5-foot-tall dot on the “i” to the nearby Baltimore Museum of Industry, which plans to install it in a corner of its Decker Gallery, in front of an east-facing wall of windows that looks out on the refinery.


“We’re delighted and honored to receive such an iconic piece of local history,” museum spokeswoman Claire Mullins said.

The 31-foot-tall “D” was “most affected by rust and is not salvageable,” the sugar importer posted on Facebook.


The pieces of that letter will be turned into souvenirs for the 500 refinery workers, and Domino hopes to make some available for sale at the Museum of Industry to support the museum. Details on how many pieces could be sold, the sizes and the price were not immediately available.

As the letters and border continue to come down from our 1951 Domino Sugars sign, we are pleased to announce we have...

Posted by Domino Sugar Baltimore on Thursday, March 11, 2021

Anderson Industrial Contracting, the company taking down the old sign, will get the “a.”

The remaining letters and the border will be donated to Second Chance Inc., a nonprofit that trains unemployed Baltimore residents to deconstruct buildings and homes and salvage usable materials in its 250,000-square-foot Ridgely Street warehouse.

Once they arrive on flatbed trucks at Second Chance, entire letters and pieces of the border will eventually be available for sale, said president and CEO Mark Foster. It’s not clear when that will be.

Putting them up in a house or garage could prove challenging. The letters headed to Second Chance range in height from the 22-foot “g” to the relatively smaller 12-foot “u,” “r,” and “s.” Those who want a smaller piece might be better off buying part of the border, Foster said.

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“How to price it, we have no idea,” he said.

The Second Chance warehouse is home to other local landmarks, including the old Bel Loc Diner sign, the “i” from the PSINet sign on the Ravens stadium before M&T Bank bought the naming rights, and the hardwood basketball baselines from Maryland’s Cole Field House.

Foster said he is excited by the prospect of “sharing of the legacy of the Domino Sugars sign.”


So is Domino.

“We are happy these historic pieces will be more closely accessible to the public,” the company said in its Facebook post.

The 120-by-70-foot sign, a Baltimore fixture that has cast its red neon glow across the Inner Harbor since 1951, was retired March 1. As of Thursday, only the dot on the “i” and the letters “n” and “o” remained, leaving the word “no” on the refinery rooftop, rendering it a ready-made Baltimore meme.

The Domino Sugars sign on Thursday, March 11, 2021 simply reads 'no' as workers continue the replacement process.

The sign will be replaced over the next few months with an LED-powered replica, which the company hopes will look exactly the same when it lights up for the first time on the night of the Fourth of July.