BOWLING GREEN—Craig Burnett co-owner of Forever Primitives and Luncheonette was working on expanding his business to provide more floor space for dine-in customers when he discovered an old second of wall that had numerous signatures on it.
Burnett said there had been a solid brick wall between where his current dining area is and the building next to it. The expansion had been in the works almost from the beginning when he and his wife and business co-owner, Mandy Burnett opened the store and luncheonette.
The two buildings attached to the original building were only separated by wood material, he explained, pointing to the door cutout.
“It was in bad shape and I knew I was going to cover it with drywall,” he said. “I wanted to keep this part, so I cut it out.”
Burnett plans on turning the wall section with all the old signatures and other graffiti on it into a piece of art for the restaurant.
“Just the other day, I put it back together. And I’m going to seal it, get some trim to go around, and we’re going to hang it above the sliding door out there,” he said. When he expanded the restaurant into the second building, Burnett added the sliding doors, and plans on adding a covered patio for outside seating. Currently, however, he has it decorated for the holidays with fake snow and well-appointed Christmas trees.
He wanted to do some more research on who owned the buildings in the past and what businesses occupied them over the years. There was one date written on the piece of wall he salvaged—4-17-09. But that was from 1909 about the time the two additional buildings went up.
“As far back as I could go before Doc. Griffin owned our first building,” Burnett said “it was a plumbing supply company.” Before that he knows it housed some sort of manufacturing. “I started putting the pieces together. You can see out back where the loading dock used to be at the back of the building.”
He wants to showcase the historic wall section along with information about the buildings to give customers an understanding of the buildings’ history.
“I would love to tear apart all these buildings here in town and find stuff,” he said. He pointed to numbers written where people had at some point used the wall to do their figuring. Most of the old wall is still there, but it has been covered in drywall.
“But this was the most interesting thing found,” he said, pointing at the salvaged section of wall. It notes how many lag bolts they used and lists the Buffum Telephone Co.
“There had been a disagreement between two brothers,” Burnett said, and one of them broke off and formed the telephone company while the other continued on with the Buffum Tool Co.
All three buildings were connected at one time, he said, because there were doorways between them.
Eventually, Burnett said, he hopes to own all the building along that block. It’s one of his missions to restore the downtown area to what it was in terms of thriving businesses.