San Augustine business’ unique discovery was hidden from sight for decades

San Augustine business’ unique discovery was hidden from sight for decades

SAN AUGUSTINE, TX (KTRE) - Hardware on the Square owners Joseph and Buster Consford have changed little about the corner store in downtown San Augustine. Mainly because they stay so busy. Joe makes a lot of keys.

The grinder is frequently heard throughout the day as people shop for a variety of wares.

Consford was ready to open the door to something new. So he thought, ‘a coffee shop would be nice in that corner’.

“And we took down the pegboard that was on the wall and just some of that white brick at the bottom showed up and I said, ‘That’s gonna look nice.’”

So another pegboard and the drop ceiling were removed.

Joseph's daughter patiently scraped away old paint. Her tool competing with the sound of the key grinder.

The result was, “Delicious,” said Consford referring to the word prominently placed under the familiar trademark of Coca-Cola.

The once outdoor advertising on the next door building is signed by Thomas Cusack. Coke memorabilia collectors know Cusack was the original billboard artist for Coca-Cola.

“I researched,” said Consford. “Coca-Cola said they painted outdoor murals from 1894 to 1923 and in 1923 they started making signs to hang on buildings, so we assume it was painted sometime between 1894 and 1923.”

Fact checking with San Augustine old-timers didn't reveal anything to the contrary.

“There’s some people that come in their upper 80s,” said Joe’s dad, Buster Consford. “And they say, 'No, don’t ever remember that sign being on that building.”

More of the outdoor billboard remains out of sight. It's upstairs in the attic of Hardware on the Square. The Consfords say perhaps someday they'll tackle that project.

The Consfords have their coffee shop. The sound of steam being released from the espresso machine is unlikely to replace the grinding of the key maker, but it’s an added touch.

The featured wall may lead to more customers asking for Coca-Cola. They have that too. But you don’t have to buy a thing. Just come in and look. The family is thankful to have unveiled another piece of San Augustine history.

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