Couple Uncovers Historic Artifact In Downtown Appleton

By Evan Kruegel, Local 5 News

Published 04/07 2014 08:26PM

Updated 04/07 2014 11:31PM

Will and Pam Weider couldn't believe their eyes when they uncovered a historic tobacco advertisement inside their new home.

        "This sign has been behind plaster for about 122 years," says Will Weider. "That's why it's in great shape."

The couple bought the old Conkey's building earlier this year with the intention of living upstairs, and using the bottom level for retail. When they began renovating the building, they found the sign -an advertisement for Mail Pouch Chewing Tobacco, dated 1891.

It was painted on the side of the building next door to Conkey's, so when the old bookstore was constructed, the sign was covered up.

        "They built this building by putting in the floor joist and the roof joist into the adjoining wall which had the sign on it, and then quickly covered it up with plaster," says Weider.

Wieder says he originally thought about covering the ad back up, but after talking to friends and family, decided to incorporate it into his home.

        "I thought well we can take some pictures of it before we cover it up, I didn't think we'd keep it initially," he says. "But the more we shared it with people, the more people were excited and kind of convinced us that it was something worth keeping."

Weider brought in restoration experts to help preserve the sign by covering it in lacquor to keep the paint from running. Now restored, the sign will serve as a historic backdrop, adourning the main wall of the couple's new kitchen.

The sign sign is 16 feet by 33 feet, and is one of just a dozen known Mail Pouch advertisements in the state.

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