Uncovering the past: Downtown renovation uncovers vintage murals

Drew Butler
The Daily Ardmoreite
Two vintage advertisements for Coca-Cola were uncovered over the weekend during the ongoing renovation process at Cook Paint. Building owner Todd Graves said he plans to keep the murals, which were signed by the artist in 1967, in place.

Two vintage advertisements for Coca-Cola were uncovered over the weekend during the ongoing renovation process at Cook Paint in downtown Ardmore. The two murals were signed by the artist in 1967 and had been covered by metal siding for decades.

Owner Todd Graves said he plans to keep the murals in place as well as replacing the glass in the windows which were also previously not visible.

“It’s a really cool find,” Graves said. “They’ve been covered up for several years, and they’re still in relatively good shape. We’re going to try to keep them as original as we can, but we may have to address some problems with them here and there.”

Graves said the murals did not come as a total surprise.

“I talked to the guy we brought the property off of several years ago, and he said he wouldn’t be surprised if there were Coca-Cola signs on the building because his family had also owned the distributing company,” Graves said. “We had peeked behind the siding before we took it down, so we knew about the first one, but we had no idea about the second one.”

Graves said he has been working on renovating both the interior and the exterior of the building for around a year and a half. So far the entire east side of the interior of the building has been remodeled, and the front facade, which was also previously covered by metal siding, has been uncovered and the brick repainted.

They are currently working on the west side of the building’s interior to bring it back to it’s original look.

“This is the original ceiling that was installed when the building was built,” Graves said. “We’ve also uncovered the original windows, so we are going to put new glass in them and keep all of the original trim.”

He said he is unsure when the building was first built but believes it to predate the 1915 gas explosion that destroyed many downtown buildings.

“Whenever we first started doing this project, I did some research about what the front of the building used to look like,” Graves said. “We found an old picture — but it doesn’t look anything like what it looks like now. I think the explosion got a lot of the store fronts, but didn’t get the buildings this far down. So I think they came in and changed the store front out after the explosion. I could see where they added it on when we started the work.”

Graves said he hopes to have the entire project completed by the end of next month and is happy to be a part of the downtown renewal efforts.

“When the city came in with the streetscape project, we decided we wanted to do our part to help beautify this part of downtown,” Graves said. “I’m glad to do it.”