Searching out the old main Post Offices in Texas has brought out how they all fly the American flag, but not the same way. In Fort Worth the flag pole is on the roof, in San Antonio there is an ornate base to the flag pole, in Hillsboro eagles holds (no hands!?) the flag pole from the side of the building with the Texas Star at the top, in Tyler the flag pole is part of the architecture and dominates, then in Wichita Falls the American flag flies on a pole several feet away.
Location, location, location is a rule for successful business and the old main post office in New Baunfels was the perfect place for the McAdoo Seafood Company, who renovated the 1915 post office. Naming it after the Treasury Secretary William McAdoo, who devised a general classification system that based the size of the post office to the amount of mail processed. New Braunfels is a CLass C with brick facing, fireproof floors, interior to exclude more expensive woods and marbles; the latter used only where sanitary conditions demand. Class ranking based on annual receipt of $15,000 worth of first-class mail yearly in 1915. MacAdoo was out to save money and preferred taking bids from both local and out-of-state materials.
Round Rock limestone, D'Hanis and Acme brick were suppliers.
Still a post office in Paris Texas. Built in 1924 when James Wetmore was the "acting Supervising architect." What stands out is standing near the door and then turning around and looking at the First Methodist Church. It seems they link together a time when Paris cotton mills and farms were booming.
In Greenville, Texas, the Neo-Classical style post office built in 1910 is a landmark. Not because of the building so much as who enlisted in the army during World War II. It was here on June 20, 1943 that Audie Murphy joined the army and went on to become the most decorated soldier in WWII.
He single-handedly held off an entire company of German soldiers for an hour in France on January 1945. Born to sharecroppers in Hunt County. Murphy left school in fifth grade to pick cotton and help support his family.
The building is now home to the Rotary Club and the old post office entrance along the side is now the entrance to apartments. Not sure the awnings add that much to the building.
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.
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..