Metro

The future of the old Boston Garden scoreboard is uncertain. But its new owner is taking suggestions

Watertown, 12-10-97 Boston Garden scoreboard hanging above the food court.
The Boston Globe
Boston Garden scoreboard hanging above the food court in the Arsenal Mall, Watertown, in 1997.

Ted Tye considers himself a lifelong Boston sports fan.

“I grew up in the old Boston Garden,” said Tye, managing partner at National Development, a company based in Newton. “And I’ve had Celtics season tickets for 35 years.”

So when he found out that the old Boston Garden scoreboard — which for decades has been hanging inside the Arsenal Mall food court in Watertown — was coming down to make way for new construction, he didn’t hesitate to nab it.

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“I was the same guy who was driving in his car the day they said the Hilltop Steakhouse was closing, and immediately called and offered to buy the cows, which I did,” he said. “I’m a little crazy for Boston memorabilia.”

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With the iconic piece of sports history now in his possession, Tye is trying to figure out what he should do with it next. On Tuesday, he tweeted a picture of the scoreboard in its heyday, dangling from the ceiling of the Boston Garden, and solicited suggestions from the public.

“So if you happened to have come into possession of this great relic from the old Boston Garden, what would you do with it????” he wrote on Twitter, using the hashtag #HomeForTheScoreboard.

Banker & Tradesman picked up the story about the fate of the scoreboard earlier this week, emboldening Tye to try and find it a suitable home for its display. Since then, Tye said, “a surprising number of responses” have come rolling in, “with hopefully more to come.”

10scoreboard -- Scoreboard being loaded onto a flatbed (Ted Tye)
Ted Tye
The old Boston Garden scoreboard being loaded onto a flatbed truck.

“I sent the tweet out the other day just for fun, but I have been surprised at how many people have been seeking me out for different suggestions,” he said in a telephone interview. “I hope we can ramp that up, and just get some good ideas.”

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The scoreboard first arrived at the Arsenal Mall food court in 1997, by way of New England Development and its founder, Stephen Karp, who purchased the sign for $40,000 at auction before Boston Garden was demolished.

Karp held a dedication ceremony for the scoreboard that featured the late Celtics coach Red Auerbach and several iconic Celtics and Bruins players.

At the time of the ceremony, the Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy wrote a column lamenting the sign’s transition from full court to food court.

“It was looking down from the old barn’s heavens when Bobby Orr flew through the air. . . . It was also looking down when Larry Bird stole that pass from Isiah Thomas and when Kevin White took the stage to explain that the Rolling Stones had been arrested in Warwick, R.I.,” he wrote. “Now the great old Boston Garden scoreboard looks down on kids getting slices of pizza from Sbarro and double-meat whoppers from Burger King.”

The scoreboard stuck around in the shopping plaza until recently, as crews continued work on Arsenal Yards, a mixed-use development that’s replacing a section of the mall with new retail buildings and apartments.

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Cranshaw Construction, National Development’s construction affiliate, is demolishing the old portion of the mall for Boston-based developer Boylston Properties.

Tye said Boylston Properties decided the scoreboard didn’t quite fit the overall project, so he stepped in to help remove it.

“As part of doing the demolition, there was a question about what to do with the scoreboard, and I said, ‘I’ll take it’ — not really knowing what we were going to do with it,” he said. “I said, ‘Let’s save this scoreboard first, and figure out what we’re going to do with it second.’ And that’s the stage we are at now.”

The scoreboard was dismantled and placed on a flatbed truck before it was shipped off to an undisclosed — and secret — location, Tye said. It will remain there until he makes a final decision about its next destination.

So far, Tye has received suggestions that include turning it into public art to be displayed in a prominent area; cutting it up and selling pieces of it off as memorabilia; and making it part of Boston Landing, home to the Celtics’ new practice facility.

But for now, he’s not leaning toward anything in particular.

“I think we’re going to just sit back and listen for a while,” he said. “There’s no time pressure, but I’d love to get some good suggestions and find it a new home this fall.”

Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.