Rediscovery

The billboard ad, painted by the Thomas Cusack Company around 100 years ago, was discovered when renovations were taking place on the building.

CIRCLEVILLE — A local company has renovated has revealed a small bit of history.

Earlier this week, the owners of Wagner’s Flower Shop were having their new location on East Main Street renovated ahead of their relocation and when the siding on the east side of the building was removed, it revealed a long forgotten painted billboard.

Located at 325 East Main Street, the site of the former Main Street Glass that closed earlier this year. Based on information found in the mural, the mural was painted by the Thomas Cusack Company sometime between 1900 when the building was built and 1924 when the company was sold.

Thomas Cusack was a politician and entrepreneur, known as the “billboard baron” from Illinois who at the height of his business had revenue of over $20 million. When he painted signs, he was paid $8 a week when he started and when he sold his company he was paying $10 to $15. Cusack died in 1926 at the age of 68.

Circleville has several similar paintings that have since faded to time and this mural is no different, while protected by the siding from the rain, added windows to the building have removed a portion of the sign, something that will be a problem for co-owners, Paul and Jennifer Dickey.

“This was behind layers of siding and we even found a calendar in the wall that from 1954 that had a picture of a pageant lady,” Paul Dickey remarked.

Dickey said he’d like to see the mural restored, if it can be, but the wood is heavily damaged and would likely be expensive to repair.

“I’d like for someone to be able to keep it and restore it, but I don’t think it can happen here,” he said. “The wood is deteriorated and it’s not to say someone couldn’t pop it off and do something with it but it would be hard to keep here. There’s not just enough to keep it intact.”

Dickey said he received an offer on the wood late Wednesday for someone to buy it.

“I don’t know what they’ll be able to do with it, but I’ve seen the interest from people wanting to keep it,” he added. “I’d love for someone to want it, pop the boards off and do something. We don’t want to cover it back up by any means, so if someone can restore history, by all means. For us, I don’t know how to restore it, and the move is going to be tough enough.”

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