An antique shop’s restored Gold Medal ad
If you drive down North Main Street in Liberty, New York, you’ll see a picture perfect piece of General Mills’ history – a Gold Medal flour ad restored to look the way it did generations ago.
It covers the north side of the Town & Country Building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. The building went up in the late 1800s as a meeting hall in Liberty. Over the years, it was used for many things, including a theater and clothing store.
It seems fitting that the space is now an antique shop.
Mary Ellen Liepins tells us the Gold Medal flour ad was hidden for more than half a century. It wasn’t until her son Eric opened Town & Country Antiques nine years ago that they discovered the old sign.
“The siding that was put all over the top, which probably protected the sign a little bit, was that old, thick, faux brick kind-of-look. That was on it for years. And when they took that off you couldn’t see the sign yet because it was painted over. It was only after we pressure washed it and got some of the paint off that you could see the sign. No one had any idea it was there,” says Liepins.
The exact age of the sign is unclear. The “Eventually – Why Not Now?” slogan featured on the sign debuted for the Washburn Crosby Company in 1907.
“A lot of the old signs, they call them the ghost signs, they’re there, but they’re not. This wasn’t a good enough ghost sign to just leave it that way. You really had to do something with it to make it look right.”
With help from family, Mary Ellen and Eric carefully restored the Gold Medal sign.
“He had to outline everything, and we had to get the colors right. We had a lift to reach the high spots, which made it easier than having to move a ladder all the time. I’d say it took us a couple months probably to fill it all in.”
The advertisement is due to be repainted again this summer.
Mary Ellen says many people who visit Town & Country Antiques comment on the old ad.
“They appreciate the effort,” she says.
Do you have one of our old ads on a building or sign in your community? Let us know!
Editor’s note: This story reminds us of a blog post we published back in 2011. Read “A bakery that was meant to be” to learn about another Gold Medal ad that was uncovered in an old building.