UNCOVERING HISTORY: When workers began renovating the second floor of the former Conkey’s building in downtown Appleton, new owner Will Weider joked with them, “When you find the Rembrandt, let me know.”
A rare, hand-painted artifact was, in fact, hidden in the wall.
Turns out it was a perfectly preserved ad for Mail Pouch chewing tobacco. The sign was painted on the outside side of the building next door shortly before the Conkey’s building went up in 1891. The outdoor sign then became an interior wall.
The Weiders bought the building with a plan to live upstairs. The vintage ad is about 16 feet by 33 feet in their future kitchen. They’re now working with a designer and restoration expert to preserve it and incorporate it into their interior.
"Since our Mail Pouch has been covered by plaster, it is in remarkably good shape despite being one of the oldest such signs in existence," Will Weider said. "This might be my Rembrandt."
(Photo credit: Sharon Cekada/Post-Crescent Media)