"Chicago, Railroad Center of the Nation"
The post office contains a Section of Fine Arts mural “Chicago, Railroad Center of the Nation” painted by Elizabeth Tracy in 1940.
In the 1930’s, many jobs programs were created to help those who were struggling during the depression. The Federal Arts Project under the WPA was a program that employed artists. Murals were a large part of the Federal Arts Project of the New Deal. The Section of the Fine Arts commissioned many artworks like these to be created for federal buildings, such as post offices, and this mural in particular is a great statement about the city of Chicago and the significance of the railroad system in our city. The mural “Chicago, Railroad Center of the Nation” continues to decorate the wall at the Downers Grove post office after 74 years. Hanging at 6 feet by 13 feet, the scene of this painting depicts workers building and completing railways and working on train cars in a train station. Men transporting bags of U.S. Mail can also be seen in the center of this painting. This mural was painted by Elizabeth Tracy in the year 1940. Tracy was a Fine Arts graduate of Radcliffe College. This piece, an oil on canvas mural, was commissioned by the Downers Grove Post Office for the Federal Arts Project under the Works Progress Administration. The painting was honored as a historical site by the Downers Grove Historical Society in 2004.
A plaque on the post office wall describes the mural as follows:
“This mural was commissioned by The Section of Fine Arts, a New Deal Era arts project established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration to provide funds for the creation of original artworks for federal buildings constructed from 1939-1943.
Born in Boston on June 5, 1911, Elizabeth Tracy was educated at Radcliffe. Her murals are in post office in Maine and Massachusetts.”
Depression-era mural gets a bronze. (2004, May 09). Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 15, 2013, from http://search.proquest.com/docview/420207723?accountid=10231 Downers Grove Post office. (n.d.). WPA Murals. Retrieved November 18, 2013, from http://www.wpamurals.com/downers.htm Wand, Carol (Downers Grove Historical Society). "Downer's Grove Mural." November 19, 2013. E-mail. Elizabeth Tracy. (n.d.). WPA Murals. Retrieved November 15, 2013, from http://www.wpamurals.com/tracyel.htm http://www.wpamurals.com/downers.htm http://www.flickr.com/photos/auvet/6924523358/in/photostream/
Project originally submitted by Haley Franker on December 17, 2012.