Big discovery found during historical hotel renovation: ‘it covers most of the wall’

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CORFU, N.Y. (WIVB) — A hotel renovation in Corfu led to a big discovery on Sunday. Workers stumbled upon a piece of history, dating back more than 100 years, when they removed some wood paneling inside.

In the town of Corfu, there isn’t one sit-down restaurant. But that will soon change when Tom Dix finishes his renovation of the Union Hotel, hopefully later this year. Dix’s mom bought the hotel two years ago. The Dix family has owned a lumber company across the street for years, and they would love to see the hotel, bar restaurant and bowling alley look like it did back in the 60s and 70s.

And on Sunday, when Tom was working on the Corfu landmark, he found something interesting. As he was removing wood paneling on the first floor, some red and yellow peered out at him from the wall underneath.

“The wall it’s on is 12 feet tall and about 28 feet wide, and it covers maybe 26 by 10,” Dix said. “It covers most of the wall.”

A massive Ringling Brothers poster was found. It advertises a circus stop in Batavia on June 27, 1907.

“We did find out that it was in Batavia on that day in 1907, and it was actually the last year that the Ringling Brothers Circus was not combined with the Barnum and Bailey Circus,” Dix said.

Tom has no idea how much the poster may be worth, but a piece of it is missing because a door was but into the wall years ago. He’s almost positive whoever covered it up didn’t realize someone would awe in its beauty more than 100 years later.

“There were probably signs like that everywhere.”

When you ask Tom if the broken windows, uneven floorboards and overgrown shrubbery scare him, he’ll say no. He has no doubt he’ll make the Union Hotel sparkle again.

It’s a 150-year-old building that uncovered a secret for the man who sees so much beauty in its worn walls.

Dix said he’s not exactly sure how he’s going to preserve the poster yet. He’s heard a lot of suggestions over the past 24 hours. But he does know he’s going to keep the poster on the wall so everyone who visits the Union Hotel can get a look at it.

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