By Seth Daniel
It’s time to feel “welcome” again.
Perhaps it was the pangs of guilt.
Maybe it was a post-Christmas New Year’s resolution to be more nice than naughty.
Or maybe common sense prevailed.
Whatever it was, the person or persons responsible for stealing the ‘Welcome to Charlestown’ hand-carved, wooden sign on the Charlestown Gateway in Thompson Square has returned the sign to the City. By the end of yesterday, Jan. 4, the sign had been re-installed by City crews – who took possession of the stolen sign.
Chris Breen of the Mayor’s Office has apparently put on his Sherlock Holmes hat over the past month since the sign was reported – digging through every nook and cranny in City Hall to see if it was put in storage and reaching out to everyone he knew to see if they’d seen it.
Finally, this week, the sign was located.
“Chris Breen is really the one who was able to find it,” said Audrey Coulter of the Mayor’s Press Office. “Every since the sign had gone missing, he had been reaching out to all his contacts in Charlestown. Through the grapevine, he was able to find out where it was and was able to get the sign back. I don’t think we’re at liberty to say who had it though.”
Said Breen, “After a long strange journey to find itself, the Charlestown Sign has returned to its home as of today, Jan. 4.”
Sources said that it was somebody local who had the sign, and they simply liked the lettering and though it would be nice in their possession.
Those who first reported it missing were exuberant when hearing the news, as the sign had been privately funded and maintained for many years. Some of them had thought it might have been destroyed by utility work crews last summer, and still others had strong suspicions that it could end up on the wall of a fraternity house at Harvard or Boston University.
All that aside, they said they cheered the return of the sign to it’s rightful place.
The history of the sign is that when all the other ‘Welcome’ signs were placed in neighborhoods in the early 2000s, the one in Charlestown was paid for by residents. That was because many residents opted to have a nicer, wooden, hand-carved sign rather than the metal ones used by the City.
For that luxury, it cost donors around $2,000.
That’s why they were so angered, they said, when it came up missing in late November.