06 June 2013

Receiving the mail in Hobart and Culver

I'm sticking with the New Deal post office theme for another post.


Hobart Post Office
I am working in Hobart, Indiana's downtown area.  Realizing they also have a New Deal-era post office, camera in-hand, I joined with the Hobarites in visiting the lobby of their post office to see if it was home to a public works supported mural.  Sure enough.  During the 1930s post office construction was prolific under the New Deal.  Post office design was all being handled from the post master general's office, which explains why so many look the same.  While the design style of Hobart's post office stayed true to the basic elements of the Colonial Revival style, which characterized nearly all post offices built during the 1930s, certainly elements of the then-popular Art Deco style were brought into play.  This is most obvious in the strong vertical window and entry bays and in the carvings of eagles above the windows.  The Hobart Post Office was constructed in 1937.

Culver Post Office
 Contrast that to the over-the-top Colonial Revival style application on the post office constructed in the tiny lakeside community of Culver.  It does make me wonder if there was a method in determining how designs were selected for each community.  Culver's post office is Colonial Revival in the truest sense of the term.  Right down to the Jeffersonian cupola on its roof.  The Culver Post Office was constructed in 1935.  Having known it was home to a public works mural, the last time I was in downtown Culver-camera in-hand again, I visited the lobby and shot a few pictures.

Receiving the mail in Hobart with town founder, George Earl's gristmill in the background
While generally all of the public works post office murals stuck with the theme of receiving mail in their communities, awarding commissions to complete the works to a wide variety of artists resulted in a broad interpretation of the theme.  Hobart's mural was painted by William Dolwick in 1938.  He depicted the early years of the community and included the founder's grist mill which would have lasted another 15 years before it burned in the 1950s.

Receiving the mail in Culver
Culver's mural was painted by Mrs. Henrick Mayer and was installed in 1938.  She selected the community's internationally known military academy as inspiration for her work.  In it she shows academy cadets alongside local residents and farmers receiving their mail.  At that time the academy was just over 40 years old, a scene certainly more modern at that time than Hobart's.  Another interesting feature of Culver's mural are the small vignettes the artist created on either side of the main picture.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Damn Federal Government! Spending money for buildings that lasted and Art! Should have been metal shacks. :)