Main Post Office (former) Murals – Fort Worth TX

Description

This grand post office takes up almost an entire city block. It was constructed in 1931 under the Treasury Department’s supervising architect James A. Wetmore, prior to the advent of the New Deal. The post office contains six New Deal murals funded by the PWAP in 1934. The artists are W. H. Baker and Dwight Holmes. There are three paintings on each of the east and west walls of the office. The middle panels are approximately 4 feet by 9 feet. The outer panels are approximately 3 feet 6 inches by 4 feet. It is not clear which paintings were done by which artist. The murals each illustrate an aspect of the history of communication by mail.

Left panel, east wall: This is the painting by W. H. Baker which appeared in the March 1, 1934 issue of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Rider on a horse waiting to hand over mail to the stage coach drivers. This is the only panel that has a signature that is currently legible.

Center panel, east wall: This may be a reference to the military outpost established in 1849 that became the city of Fort Worth.

Right panel, east wall: train locomotive traveling through a frontier
settlement; men huddled around another man that appears to be reading a letter.

Left panel, west wall: small aircraft with an emblem reading “U.S. Mail.”

Center panel, west wall: Multiple forms of transportation are depicted in this painting. An observer of this painting today might consider that the scene was pure fiction and an exaggerated example of “artistic license.” But at the time the painting was created, there was much discussion in local papers about the possibility of creating a Trinity River canal that would extend to the Gulf of Mexico with Fort Worth located at the head of navigation. The War Department had authorized the U. S. Department of Commerce to undertake a $300,000 engineering survey for this proposal. The survey estimated that inbound freight traffic to Fort Worth would be 383,009 tons and the outbound freight would equal 240,275 tons. The canal was to contain a 200-foot channel and have a depth of 9 feet. The Trinity River canal never came to fruition but its proponents argued for it for many years.[1]

Right panel, west wall: farmer behind a hand plow; also example of an airplane.

Source notes

[1]“Canal Would Save Region 3 Millions.” Fort Worth (Texas)Press, January 4, 1934.

[2] Fort Worth and Tarrant County, Texas Federal
Writers Project, vol 53 (never published)

[3] Fort Worth Star Telegram. March 1, 1934.

Project originally submitted by Susan Kline on March 25, 2013.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.

Location Info

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251 W. Lancaster Avenue
Fort Worth, TX 76102

Coordinates: 32.745533, -97.329133

2 comments on “Main Post Office (former) Murals – Fort Worth TX

  1. These murals are not in the Post Office at 251 West Lancaster Avenue. I believe they are in what is now the US Bankruptcy Courthouse at 501 West 10th Street. The guards at the courthouse said there were some “Western” murals in the upstairs, locked courtroom.

  2. Eveline

    You list the murals but not the Post Office itself. I have a picture of the post office but the only documentation I have is the information above “This grand post office takes up almost an entire city block. It was constructed in 1931 under the Treasury Department’s supervising architect James A. Wetmore. ” Should I submit this?

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