RIDGWAY — The recent demolition of the Sheetz store at 138 N. Broad St. in Ridgway turned out to be the key in uncovering a remarkable piece of history.
During the week of July 18, workers unknowingly revealed a rather large Coca-Cola trademarked logo on the side of Gallery 219 Antiques brick building at 114 N. Broad St.
This painted logo, said Gallery 219 Antiques Owner Stephen Bagley, is roughly 100 years old. It had to be painted in the early 1920s, since Coca-Cola didn’t start using the word “drink” until that time period, he said, which is included in this sign.
Back in the day, Coca-Cola did this to advertise its products all over the country, he said.
There was formerly an auto garage next to the antique shop, built sometime around 1925. It then housed Ridgway Ambulance vehicles, said Bagley, and Gallery 219 Antiques used to be a soda shop. The buildings being right up against one another is what protected the Coca-Cola sign from outdoor elements throughout the years.
The logo on the brick is in good condition as it is, said Bagley, but he has been cleaning it himself to remove any residue and brighten up the white-painted words.
Recalling the day the sign was discovered, Bagley said the project engineer came into the antique shop and said something like, “You’re not going to believe what we found.”
Bagley said the discovery has brought a lot of positive attention to the shop and to Ridgway, with numerous locals and travelers stopping to learn and talk about it. Photos of the logo have also circulated around social media.
The antique shop is located on the high-traffic U.S. Route 219, known for also bringing New Yorkers into the area.
This trademark, said Bagley, is just another piece of local interest to draw people into Ridgway. While visitors stop at the antique shop, he is sure to direct them to other places in town to check out, supporting other area businesses as well.
The plan is to ultimately have the Coca-Cola logo restored –clear coated and sealed, but not repainted, said Bagley, with the help of the Ridgway Heritage Council.
“We want to keep it as much in its original state as possible,” he said.
Referring to it as a “historical gem” for downtown Ridgway, Bagley anticipates interest in the Coca-Cola logo only growing from here. When the new Sheetz gas station is completed, more 219 travelers and other visitors who are stopping to get gas will likely stop to take a look and snap some photos.
“People will remember this from Ridgway,” he said.