02 September 2013

From Attica to Monticello by mail & canvas

 
Attica Post Office
If you think that I am building to some kind of grand thought behind the posts on New Deal-era post offices and murals....I hate to disappoint you.  The regionalism painting that was being done in the Midwest during the 1920s-1930s is probably my favorite style.  Throw it in a historic building and you've captured my attention.
 
And so it happens when my New Deal radar goes off passing a post office that screams "hey, mural inside!"  No, seriously, I hear that when I drive by.  And I quickly pull over, camera in hand, and mosey up the steps into a lobby where the locals are pulling the mail out of there p.o. boxes as if it were still 1932.  Except that some guy, clearly from out of town (I give off that vibe), snaps a few shots and scurries back out the door.....with eyes following me all the way back to my car.
So it should be no surprise that on my way back from Covington a few weeks ago, a detour through Attica (to stop at Wolf's Chocolates), put me on the street past their post office and ding, ding, ding....the radar went off.

Attica's Trek of the Covered Wagon
Attica's post office is pretty unassuming, standard, government-issue 1930s, but with an exceptionally detailed stone doorway.  A recollection of historic post office murals made me think....hmmm....I think Attica has one.  So, up the steps and into the lobby, snap, snap.....and on my way.  Now-nothing against Attica here, but they have the smallest commissioned mural I've seen.  It is entitled Trek of the Covered Wagon by Reva Jackman, a woman artist.

Monticello Post Office
And then just last week I was on my way back from Delphi via Monticello, which is slightly out of the way but necessary for a stop at the Whyte Horse Winery.  Now-I've been in Monticello several times and had always wanted to stop by their post office, so this trip I made time.  Monticello's post office is again, straight from the period, but somehow they managed to get a building entirely cut from limestone.  And a further unusual detail is the fluted return walls of the doorway and windows.  It has a hint of both classicism and modern architecture.  Nicely done USPS.  The mural in the Monticello Post Office is a classic example of Midwest Regionalism capturing the heartbeat of farm life.  The painting is entitled Hay Making and it was done by Marguerite Zorach in 1942.


Monticello's Hay Making
It may be all-together appropriate that I touch on a couple of New Deal era "get America back to work" projects on this Labor Day.  For all the crap FDR gets, we've inherited some pretty amazing things from the labor of the 1930s.  Stay tuned....I'm sure there will be more.


5 comments:

Sandra white said...

As the former Postmaster of Attica, I loved it when people stopped to look at the mural, take pictures and ask questions. Several years before I retired, I worked hard to get the mural cleaned. For over 17 years, this was my daily work environment and I was proud to be the Postmaster there.

hoosier reborn said...

Pleased to have you visit the blog Sandra. Attica is a great town with some fantastic buildings, including the post office.

vanilla said...

I enjoy your presentation of the murals and your comments. I have had a dickens of a time trying to get a snapshot of the mural here (Tipton) because there is a light fixture hanging in the camera's line of sight. *grrr*

hoosier reborn said...

Tipton's not far off the beaten path-I'll have to stop by there on my next venture to Indy. I think you have a mausoleum I may be interested in also.

Oh the things that interest me.
HR

vanilla said...

Be nice to have you stop by. Give me a heads up.