After punching a hole in the wall, staring him right in the face was a part of an animal’s anatomy that Light recognized immediately.
“I looked through there and saw something interesting,” Light said.
Upon removing more of the sheetrock, it was clear that an image of a bull had been painted in the adjacent wall connecting the building with the Goliad County Library.
Scotty and his wife, Patsy, soon learned that they were uncovering a piece of Americana.
The art on the wall turned out to be a 35-foot mural painted over 100 years ago. After doing extensive historical research with the aid of Duke University in North Carolina, Patsy found that the mural, advertising the Bull Durham Tobacco Co., was painted between 1880 and 1900.
“The 1880 Sanborn maps show no building there,” Patsy Light said. “The 1900 map showed this building scabbed next to it.”
The Lights have solicited the expertise of Alamo conservator Pam Rosser Jary, who plans to make weekend trips to Goliad with students from Texas A&M University to help preserve the artwork beginning in January.
“I have never worked on an ad like this, but this is very exciting,” Jary said. “I was very surprised that it was in such good condition. There will be very little inpainting required. It’s in stable condition because it had the building next to it.”
The Lights are donating the conservation of the wall to the Goliad County Library, as the ad is on the north brick wall of the library building.
The Lights will continue the demolition of the building after the conservation is complete and will build a protective shed roof over it.
The “ bull” will become a focal part of the Light’s property which includes the future Mustang Cantina.