Post Office and Court House Mural – Fort Scott KS

Project type: Art Works, Murals
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Oscar E. Berninghaus painted this Section of Fine Arts oil-on-canvas mural entitled “Border Gateways” in 1937 in the Fort Scott federal courthouse. As of 2007, the federal court room was empty. Access was possible with permission from the post office, housed downstairs.

This work is a placid scene showing settlers travelling into the Kansas Territory as a result of the “Enabling Act of Kansas Territory” in 1854. There appear to be rows of newly cut wheat and Native Americans looking on the settlers at the front left, with cavalry at the front right. A stagecoach is in the background, possibly the Butterfield.

Oscar Berninghaus was born in St. Louis, MO and was largely self taught, though he attended class part-time at Washington University. Growing up painting the levee in St. Louis, he absorbed tales of the old West and travelled to Colorado and New Mexico, where he was influenced by the Taos artists and to which he returned most summers. He was employed as a printmaker in St. Louis, producing chromolithographs of various western subjects with a series for Anheuser Busch, and moved to Taos in 1921.

Other murals by Oscar Berninghaus are located in Weatherford, OK and Phoenix, AZ.

Source notes

Park and Markowitz, Democratic Vistas, Post Offices and Public Art in the New Deal, 1984.

Project originally submitted by Charles Swaney on August 19, 2012.

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


Location Info

120 S. National St.
Fort Scott, KS 66701

Coordinates: 37.840663, -94.707358

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