“Located in the historic downtown area of Raton, New Mexico, Arthur Johnson Memorial Library building was originally built” as the community’s post office in 1917, well prior to the advent of the New Deal. “Remodeling in the late 1990’s opened the second floor for use, and included the addition of an elevator.”
The facility’s significance from a New Deal standpoint stems from the “large collection of paintings representative of New Mexico artists of the New Deal period,” which hang “throughout the library. A painting by the late Chiricahua Apache artist, Allan Houser, done prior to his moving into 3 dimensional art, is included.”
Many examples of New Deal artwork presently housed were commissioned by the W.P.A., by way of the Federal Art Project.
Furthermore, two New Deal murals were created specifically for the building, when it was still a post office. These works, “First Mail Crossing Raton Pass,” and “Unloading the Mail at Raton,” have since been relocated—to the present post office building and to the Raton Museum, respectively.
Personal visit by Evan Kalish, Jan. 2018
"The Arthur Johnson Memorial Library," Santa Fe Trail, National Scenic Byway
Project originally submitted by Evan Kalish on January 30, 2018.