Claremore Daily Progress

May 24, 2013

Downtown renovation reveals hidden history

Tom Fink
Staff Reporter


When downtown business owner Virginia Belt began renovating the interior of Nostalgia Nook, little did she realize she would uncover part of Claremore’s past.
“Last month, Virginia (Belt) and her granddaughter were inside the  downtown Claremore space at 406 W. Will Rogers Boulevard,” said Cindy Bissett, Claremore Main Street. “When the little girl playfully kicked at one of the wall and some of the plaster fell off. After a few more strips (of plaster) fell off, it was obvious there was something underneath which hadn’t been seen in decades.”
As further layers of plaster were peeled away, a larger-than-life-sized owl near the painted word “cigar” was revealed, believed to have once been part of a sign at the turn of the century.
“In reviewing some early historic photos of that building, we discovered a photograph taken in 1907 which showed the sign was there then, so as far as we can tell, the old wall art has been there for at least 100 years, waiting to be discovered,” she said. “Volunteers have been carefully chipping away at the plaster on that wall since, and they’ve been slowly uncovering art that hasn’t been seen in a century.”
Although the building owners are still deciding how to proceed with renovating the building’s interior, once the hidden art is revealed in full, it’s likely they could seal it for historic preservation.
“We’re very excited at this (discovery) — these signs have given us a glimpse into Claremore’s past, and serve as a reminder that Claremore has a rich and colorful history, as well as a great future,” Bissett said.