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Restoration project revives piece of Wellington history

Published: Sep. 24, 2020 at 4:22 PM CDT
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WELLINGTON, Kan. (KWCH) - Just in time for a big celebration in Wellington, the Sumner County community nears completion on a big, historic restoration project. The city is restoring a ghost sign uncovered in recent years. The restoration is nearly complete as Wellington looks to celebrate its 150th birthday next year.

The piece of history coming back to life is a giant sign for “Jacob Engle Dry Goods,” a Wellington business established in 1892. The sign was there to draw customers.

“That’s the way that business was done, without the internet, with a sign that was bright,” said restoration project participant Colette Kocour.

While Jacob Engle Dry Goods is long closed, those behind the sign restoration are hoping the bright yellow sign will attract a new generation.

“By doing this, it preserves it, it brings a great opportunity for a couple different things, preservation and tourism,” Sumner County Economic Development Executive Director Stacy Davis said.

The uncovering of the sign happened by chance.

“Ironically, it came down in part of an adjacent building being demolished, and that uncovered the remnants of this sign,” said Jacob Engle’s great-grandson, David Carr.

The hope with the sign restoration is that the project keeps a part of downtown Wellington’s history around for the future.

“Those of us involved in the project just felt it was important to preserve symbols of our history because there’s no longer any eyewitnesses to it,” Kocour said.

Organizers are chronicling each step of the sign restoration project on YouTube so people from around the world can take part in it.

Copyright 2020 KWCH. All rights reserved.

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