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How The Landmark Shell Sign In Cambridge Became 'Hell'

CAMBRIDGE (CBS) – A Boston area landmark turned into an unwelcome sight earlier this week.

The 68-foot tall Shell gas station sign on Memorial Drive in Cambridge had a power problem Tuesday night. Some of the neon lights went out. More specifically, the lights for just the letter "S" went out, leaving "HELL" lit up along the Charles River skyline.

A lot of people noticed. Julia Trull texted one of her friends right away when she saw it.

hell sign shell sign
The Shell gas station sign in Cambridge after the "S" went out. (Photo credit: Jennifer Bruni)

"I was like, I just rode by the weirdest thing. I saw like "hell", obviously I saw that and I was like, 'oh,'" she told WBZ-TV.

"It was very impressive in the darkness (Tuesday) night apparently," said gas station owner Tibor Hangyal.

It didn't take long for corporate headquarters to find out what was going on and they weren't happy.

"They said, 'shut it off, shut it off,'" Hangyal told WBZ. "Funny thing is, (it's) advertising something we don't want to advertise at all."

The entire sign will now stay dark until the LED lights can be replaced. That should be done in the next few weeks.

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The 68-foot tall Shell gas station sign on Memorial Drive in Cambridge. (WBZ-TV)

The original neon shell sign was built in 1933 and it was named a landmark by the city. In 2011, it was replaced with an LED replica.

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