Coca-Cola Consolidated is working across Appalachia to restore "ghost murals.''
The murals were painted on buildings more than a century ago, before radio commercials, electronic billboards or television. Now the murals are fading from age.
West Virginia Public Broadcasting says one of the largest restored ghost murals to date was unveiled recently in Hinton. The mural in the Summers County community is 17 feet tall, 60 feet wide. It dates back nearly a century.
It's one of thousands of Coca-Cola ads painted at the turn of the century, many of them in the rural south.
"Before there was the world famous sign in New York City in Times Square, there was the sign in Hinton, West Virginia,'' said Lauren Steele, senior vice president for corporate affairs for the cola company. "So you can say that that sign in New York was a rip off of the sign right here in Hinton, West Virginia.''
The company has restored about 15 murals across three Appalachian states so far.
The locations include Rocky Mount and Roanoke, Virginia, and Concord and Hendersonville, North Carolina, among others.
Others scheduled to be restored include Morgantown and Charleston, Bristol and Farmville, Virginia, and Eden and Mount Airy, North Carolina.
Coca Cola said it expects the list to grow.
The mural artists are taking a summer break. The next restoration project will start up in early fall.