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  • Texas | Images | Signs

    Discovery of the
    Bull Durham wall advertisement
    in Goliad, Texas

    by Patsy Light

    In 2012, Patsy and Scotty Light of San Antonio and Goliad purchased a frame building on the square across from the Courthouse which adjoins property they are remodeling, with the intention of requesting permission to demolish it. The Goliad Board of Architectural Review partially denied their request, informing them that they could remove rear additions of the building, but not the front. Mr. Light was inspecting a broken sheet rock wall in this front part and realized that partial anatomy of a bull was on a brick wall behind two by fours that were scabbed on to a brick wall of a 1880s building, now the Goliad County Library. After removing the entire sheet rock wall, a 43 foot long image, including a 12 foot long bull, and lettering "Bull Durham Tobacco Has No Equal" were revealed, in very good condition. Partially concealed by the ceiling, are the letters "W.T. Blackwell" (the owner of the Bull Durham Tobacco Co. in Durham, North Carolina). As evidenced by the 1880 and 1900 Sanborn's maps of Goliad, which illustrate buildings on the square, the image was painted between 1880 and 1900, when it was covered by the frame building. That means that the ad had not been seen for over 100 years!

    Bull Durham Ghost Sign, Goliad TX
    Discovered Bull Durham Ghost Sign
    Photo courtesy Patsy Light, March 2013
    The Lights again requested permission to demolish the building, stating that they would restore the painting, and construct a protective shed roof over it. It will become a focal point of a garden adjoining the buildings. The board granted their request, and Mr. and Mrs. Light contracted with a San Antonio conservator, Pam Jary Rosser to do the work. Ms. Rosser is presently employed as the conservator for the Alamo in San Antonio, and she has worked on prestigious projects in the Vatican and the San Antonio Missions. For several week-ends, she worked with the assistance of graduate students in Architectural Preservation from Texas A&M University, applying a consolidate to bond the paint to the wall, cleaning and touching up areas, and finally applying a sealant. When the shed is completed, the remainder of the painting will receive the identical treatment.
    Bull Durham wall advertisement, Goliad TX
    Wall Advertisement "Bull Durham Tobacco Has No Equal"
    Photo courtesy Patsy Light, March 2013

    The Lights have consulted with Duke University's John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History, and discovered the existence of similar walls throughout the U.S. Unlike the Goliad Bull Durham wall, many have a fence section covering the bull's genitals. Mr. and Mrs. Lightwould like to know about additional Bull Durham walls around Texas.

    They are planning to include the wall in an addendum to the National Register of Historic Places listing for the Goliad Courthouse Square Historic District and will apply for a Texas Historical Commission marker.

    © Patsy Light

    May 2013

    Baird TX - Bull Durham Ghost Sign

    Bull Durham Ghost Sign in Baird, Texas
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, October 2009

    See Goliad, Texas
    More Texas Ghost Signs
    Related Topics: Signs in Texas | Texas Old Neon | Texas

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