By Marice Richter
DALLAS (Reuters) - A 1934 red neon Pegasus, a familiar emblem of Mobil Oil, has been lit up once again in Dallas, restoring a symbol of a city known for its close association with the oil business that had been locked away for a decade and a half.
The large illuminated sign, which glowed atop a 1920s-era skyscraper until being taken down and consigned to storage about 15 years ago, was turned on overnight in front of a convention center hotel, mounted atop an oil derrick as it had been in the past.
"This was too great a historical and cultural icon of Dallas to lose," David Fisher, head of the city's Office of Cultural Affairs, said of the 32-foot-tall (9.8 meters) sign showing the winged horse of Greek mythology.
The Pegasus sign has long been embraced by Dallas residents as a defining element of their city.
Comprised of two identical fabricated panels, the 1934 sign was mounted on a 50-foot-tall (15 meter) oil derrick that rotated atop the Magnolia Building, which opened in 1922 as the city's first skyscraper and for a time was tallest structure west of the Mississippi River.
There are now two big Pegasus signs in Dallas. Since the original one was taken down in 1999, a replacement has sat atop the old skyscraper, now called the Magnolia Hotel.
The original Pegasus took a year to build and originally glowed to welcome the first annual meeting of the American Petroleum Institute in 1934, according to the American Oil & Gas Historical Society. It was visible from 75 miles (120 km) away.
It was boxed up and stored in a city shed for more than a decade, where it "fell off the radar," Fisher said.
The Pegasus became a symbol of Mobil Oil when it merged with Magnolia Petroleum in 1959. Mobil Oil is now part of Irving-based Exxon Mobil Corp.
(Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Will Dunham)