I have been monitoring the status of Penn Quarter’s iconic Central Liquor sign ever since the building changed hands and the new owners (Joe’s Souvenir) applied to the HPRB to make some major changes to it. Although the Board has not yet ruled on Joe’s application, it appears that the store went ahead and did what they wanted anyway.
Here’s what the sign has looked like since 1936:
And this is what the sign looks like today:
If you couldn’t tell (sorry the pic is a bit blurry), the word “Liquor” is gone.
As you may remember, Joe’s Souvenir had wanted to change the word “Central” to “Joe’s” and the word “Liquor” to “Souvenirs”. At the last meeting that the HPRB discussed this issue, it decided to hold the record open until its next meeting: the HPO’s representative would go to do some research into relocating the sign, Joe’s would revise its application.
This afternoon, I talked to DC Preservation League Director Rebecca Miller about the change. In her last update from the City, she was told that a developer would be removing the sign and storing it until a new home was found where the sign could be displayed intact. The sign hasn’t been on HPRB’s agenda since I last reported, and no permit has been issued by the City to change it.
This is a disappointing development.