Interesting discovering in Philip Paisi's book The Texas Post Office Murals, Art for the People, the California artist Lloyd Goff saw Texas as HOT. His mural "Before the Fencing of Duke County" in Cooper, Texas, shows a shirtless farm hand getting a big drinking of water out of a bucket. Just off to the side is a steer's skull. A skull showing they are in a drought and need water.
tTexarkana merges the city limits across both Texas and Arkansas, but to solve a problem when the federal courthouse was only in Arkansas, they decided to place one building on the state line.
Built in 1933 in the Beaux Art style, the architect made sure features on Arkansas matched the features in Texas. But it is the interior where they got carried away. You enter into the entry with marble, bronze state seals, and above see highly decorated plaster panels. Go inside to the lobby and fine the counter on the Arkansas side and the boxes on the Texas side. Addition of alley for those waiting in line and kiosk in the center between two fine bronze and glass writing tables sre eye-sores.
A very old 1800's post office in Cambridge Ontario gets a new life as a library. It is common in US to also turn the old main post office into the community library. Solid structure, often a historical landmark. But the architect in Canada add modern glass addition around the Victorian post office.
Check this out:
On First Street the Mineral Wells the old post office looks right down the center of Fourth Avenue. Built in 1911 it must of had to handle mail from thousands of tourists coming to town to drink the water. Mineral water that enabled the "crazy" woman in 1881 to start talking and making sense. The Crazy Water still gets bottled and the old post office is the Mineral Wells Women's Club since 1970. The post office moved out in 1959.
Located between huge hotels built in the Twenties, the Baker Hotel however is now empty and the Crazy Water Hotel is being renovated into apartments and shopping. (A great location for a spa.) The old Post Office still even has some nature gas powered lighting (they didn't know what to do with all the natural gas coming out of the oil wells in Ranger, Texas)
There were a lot of tourists mailing letters and receiving news from around the world. Silent movie Hollywood stars enjoyed stopping over during train rides to Los Angeles. A healthy place to relax and drink the water. They tell me that once there was a fountain right in front of the old post office. That would have made a great photo.
The U.S. Marshals won't let any cameras inside the Waco Federal Building, but visitors without a camera pass through the metal detector to see a courtrooms preserved to it's original Depression era state, and some of the old artifacts from post office. Two carved panels by artist Eugene Shonnard in 1939 are stained in dark Texas gumwood and hard to see, but the building itself stands out.
Art Deco styling both in the entrance and exterior makes it a unique federal building. Like all post offices it is a fireproof structure which enabled it to survive the powerful F5 tornado that hit Waco on May 11, 1953
Two artists and two post offices. Both painters saw the lobby as tight and closed in, so they tried to give some depth to the painting. Bottom mural in the Farmersville P.O. titled "Soil Conservation in Collin County" by Jerry Bywaters shows how the farmer should plow the field. Follow the contour of the hills, not just straight rows, which led to the Dust Bowl. Farmer in foreground and way in the back you see a train going to market. The top painting in Deecatur is by Ray Strong, titled" Texas Plains" Showing big sky with clouds getting smaller and a small cowboy driving a herd of cows.
Bywaters mural sure looks more like Texas than Strong's in Decatur.
Decatur painting hung in 1939 at old post office, now a visitors center, is a block away from the Wise county courthouse. The Farmersville post office is in a smaller town, still in operation and bigger.
The entire downtown in Farmersville and includes the post office as an Historic Place. Many tourists visit on the weekend. Talking to a postman about how it was preserved like the old days and how the post office served the farmers shipping produce and live chickens. He agreed and told me that the week before they had a couple of crates filled with live baby chicks, and complained how they made a lot of noise.
The old post office in Denton sits a block away from the town square. Built in the 1930's it had some additions and then in 1959 was replaced by a new post office and federal building. Just across the street.
Government Services Administration no longer had a need for the old post office and sold it to the a family furniture/appliance business on the square. They planned to convert it into office suites to lease out to local businesses. Convenient to both federal and county offices, great location for law firms.
But they never got around to it. Was easier simply to store some extra inventory, maybe fix it up another day.
Priority blog, I normally post once a week, highlight a Texas post office. But this can't wait. It isn't a post office it's fashion. The USPS is working with Forever 21 to create a fashion line.
Wait, this isn't the Post Office in Bonham, Texas. See photos below. But Bonham is the home of the longest serving Speaker of the House, Sam Rayburn. He is famous for getting politicians to compromise and picking the Democratic Party candidates. The library boosts how no Federal government funds were used to finance the building of this monument to Rayburn. Marble on the outside! One can only assume that all the Democratic Parties in every state donated lots of money.
From D. B. Hardeman and Donald C. Bacon's Rayburn: A Biography, tells how Rayburn gave special access to Texas newspapers "including the Dallas Morning News, which he loathed for it's far-right views."
The Post Office is a step up in size based on the population of Bonham. Size determined by the amount of mail handled, maybe Rayburn mail and received lots of mail. Post Office still open and interior has been modernized, totally fireproof, no marble columns.
You can't help but notice the difference from the outside, the Breckenridge, Texas, main post office built in 1932 is stark and plain. The country was in the depths of the Great Depression the postal system had to be frugal. But not far away in Cisco, Texas, the 1934 post office has arches and style. The corner stone says it all.
The 1932 corner stone lists who was Secretary of Treasury and the supervising architect, but the 1934 Cisco corner stone adds the name of the Postmaster General, James Farley, who was the Democratic chairman who helped Franklin D. Roosevelt get elected. Apparently he wanted to standout and be remembered, especially in his hometown, New York City. That post office huge, covering an entire block, and with lots of marble inside. It is now getting recycled into the local regional commuter train station.
Jim is focusing on preserving and bringing awareness of those classic post offices. He is happy to speak to groups and show what it was like before the internet..