Iconic neon Rainier "R" returns to its historic perch

SEATTLE -- The Rainier "R" lit up the sky for nearly 50 years, and on Thursday, a 12-foot replica of the original Rainier R dangled from a crane, ready to make a celebratory return.

The original neon R that perched above what was once the sixth biggest brewery in the world, now rests restored at the Museum of History and Industry.

Seattle sign company Western Neon - which made the neon green Tully's T - used old plans to recreate the new Rainier R. The team spent hours turning gas and glass into the light that will welcome travelers along I-5 into Seattle.

"It's exciting for us 'cause it gives us the opportunity to not work on just another sign, but a very historical, iconic landmark," Andre Lucero says.

470 LED bulbs brighten the big R, twice the original number, and the bulbs are now on both sides.

The R will complete its return late Thursday with a public unveiling. The green "T" that went up when Tully's took over doesn't have a home yet, but the search is on for its own iconic location.