1880s circus lithograph discovered during a Durand restaurant ex - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

1880s circus lithograph discovered during a Durand restaurant expansion

Durand (WQOW) -

Lions, tigers, bears, oh my!

That's what owners of a family restaurant said during an expansion project when they found a unique piece of history behind the wall of the conjoined building they were expanding into to create a banquet room.

"I ran into this paper stuff that I had no idea what it was but we could see it was some form of art history," Ron Berger, one of the family members that owns the Corral Bar and Riverside Grill said.

Berger noticed the artwork while he was in the process of demolishing the wall, but little did he know, the artwork was actually a relic from the 1880s.

"It ends up being, from what I understand, a wood block cut paper lithograph of a multi-sheet circus poster from 1885," Berger said.

The lithograph was an advertisement for Mile's Orton's "Great Anglo American" circus which was showing in Durand on August 17, 1885.

"Every time I look at it, I'm just dumbfounded. It's hard to believe that my father used to play cards in here and nobody had the idea that it was behind that wall," local Durand resident, Jim Swain said.

The lithograph isn't the only historical market in the building. The tavern's back bar also dates back to the 1880s, as well as the detailed ceiling.

According to Durand's Courier Wedge Newspaper, this specific show traveled to 39 states across the country and featured acts like a bareback horse rider and acrobat performers.

"It's really a part of Wisconsin history and circus history because the owners of the circus originated in Wisconsin," Berger said.

In 1854, Miles Orton's father, Hiram, founded the circus in Portage, Wisconsin.

The lithograph is now on display for all of those who want to take a step back and visualize what entertainment was like in the 1880s.

"From what I understand, it's the only advertisement from this show that's left. It's a unique and rare thing that you won't see anywhere else," Berger said.

The lithograph is now on display in the banquet hall at the Corral Bar and Riverside Grill in Durand. 

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