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Historic mural inside Caldeco Air Conditioning & Heating is a hit with staff and customers

"We couldn't sleep. We were so excited!"
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Posted at 4:06 AM, Apr 13, 2021

TAMPA, Fla. — Rick Caldevilla couldn't sleep.

The president of Caldeco Air Conditioning & Heating had to solve the mystery of the wall.

"We kept scraping and scraping away," Caldevilla says. "We had to see what we'd find next!"

Rick, a third-generation Tampa native, moved his business to its current West Tampa location in the early 2000s.

Almost 100 years ago, the building was an old-school Eagle Drug, with an outdoor patio for drinking root-beer floats and such.

The drug store's outdoor patio wall was now Caldeco's indoor wall, running straight down the middle of the office.

It's a beautiful exposed-brick beauty, and then some.

"We started seeing the Statue of Liberty, war bonds," Rick says, getting back to that artful mystery.

As Rick and his team scraped away plaster, they found underneath an 80-foot mural with colorful artwork, advertisements and rousing 1940s patriotism, all of which used to adorn the outside of the Eagle Drug.

It was nothing less than a historic treasure.

Rick knew right away that this was something to cherish.

"There was no way I could cover that back up after I found that," says Caldevilla, who hired his cousin Ray to help touch up the mural in parts, but also preserve large untouched lengths of it as well.

The wall, which includes a patriotic section featuring the Pledge of Allegiance, the Statue of Liberty and an ad for war bonds, has become a source of pride and comfort for employees and customers.

But Caldeco also gets art and history buffs, plus general lookie-loos, wanting to come in and view the mural, as well.

"Oh yeah," smiles Caldevilla. "We let them in."