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  • Lakeview Post Office Mural - Chicago IL
    During the Great Depression, the Works Progress Administration was the greatest and most ambitious agency to come out of FDR’s New Deal that employed mostly the unskilled. One sector of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) was the Federal Art Project (FAP), and from that was born the Mural Division. This sought to not only employ artists that were struggling financially, but also to bring art to the public. There were many divisions of the FAP that had similar goals, but the Mural Division had a grand vision, and a lasting legacy. It showcased the talent of many artists in that...
  • Lakeview Station Post Office - Chicago IL
    The Lakeview Station post office was constructed by the Treasury sometime between 1933-1937. The date on the cornerstone is too worn to read, but Henry Morgenthau, Jr. (whose name does appear on the cornerstone) was appointed Secretary of the Treasury by FDR in 1933, and a New Deal mural was installed in the building in 1937.
  • Lane Tech College Prep Auditorium Fire Curtain Mural - Chicago IL
    A 43' x 20' oil mural was painted on the steel fire curtain in the auditorium at Lane Tech High School by artist John Edwin Walley. It was installed in 1936 with funding from the WPA's Federal Art Project and restored in 1997. One commentary on the mural says this: "The imposing Native American figure called "the lean Indian," painted on the steel fire curtain of the school auditorium, was the first of many artworks to be commissioned for Lane Tech, then all male, during the New Deal years. The school had moved to a new building in 1934, and Lane's principal...
  • Lane Tech College Prep Bas Reliefs - Chicago IL
    Among several other New Deal artworks at the Lane Tech High School are these carved mahogany bas-reliefs in the school library. These 15' x 6' reliefs were carved by sculptor Peter Paul Ott, with assistance from wood workers Conzelman, Meuzenmeier, Sarner, Ericksen and McGrory. The reliefs were completed between 1936 and 1938 with support from the WPA Federal Art Project.
  • Lane Tech College Prep High School Auditorium Mural - Chicago IL
    Among the many Federal Art Project (FAP) funded artworks at Lane Tech High school is a four-panel fresco in the auditorium, "Teaching of the Arts," painted by Mitchell Siporin in 1938. Each panel is 15' x 3'6." From A Guide to Chicago's Murals (2001): "Four vertical panels mounted between the exterior doors of the Lane Tech auditorium describe the teaching of the humanities. They were painted when the school was all male. In each, Mitchell Siporin portrays the figure of a mentor or teacher standing behind that of a young student. For literature, a wise-looking older man with his arm outstretched gently...
  • Lane Tech College Prep High School Lunchroom Murals - Chicago IL
    Among the New Deal artworks at Lane Tech High School are several frescoes in the school lunchroom, each depicting a different period of "Epochs in the History of Man." These large (12' x 14') frescoes were painted by Edgar Britton in 1937 under the Federal Art Project (FAP), a branch of the Works Progress Administration (WPA).
  • Lane Tech College Prep High School Sculptures - Chicago IL
    Two 14-foot figures titled "Boys Rising From the Sea" were created by Charles Umlauf under the auspices of the WPA Federal Art Project.  These sculptures are placed in front of the school.  They are part of a group of New Deal artworks that embellish Lane Tech College Prep High School
  • Laramie Viaduct (demolished) - Chicago IL
    Chicago, Illinois's old Laramie Viaduct, which carried South Laramie Ave. over the railroad line just south of I-290, was constructed with the assistance of federal Public Works Administration (PWA) funds in 1939. The bridge was demolished ca. 2010.
  • Legler Library Mural - Chicago IL
    Richard Babcock's 11' x 18' painting "Father Marquette's Winter in Chicago" in the Legler Library was created in 1934 with the help of FAP funds.
  • Lincoln Park - Chicago IL
    Lincoln Park, one of Chicago’s largest and oldest parks, is a prime example of the city’s commitment to conserving and protecting this valuable lakefront property for public use. The park currently stretches from the Ohio Street Beach in Streeterville, just north of Navy Pier, north to Ardmore Avenue in Edgewater. It exists today very much the same as it did after the WPA got a hold of it in the late-1930s. The Works Progress Administration (WPA) did the majority of their work in Lincoln Park from 1937 to 1941. The agency allotted $45,000 dollars to the park, even though the plan...
  • Lincoln Park Post Office - Chicago IL
    "This is one of the largest branch post offices in Chicago. It was constructed to provide for a 10-year growth in post office requirements, and the depth of the property makes possible a future enlargement of the building. The workroom is lighted by skylights and artificial light and has an area of 10,740 square feet. The lobby is 18 by 54 feet and has a terrazzo floor, marble base, and walnut wainscot. The construction is fireproof. The exterior walls are faced with brick, trimmed with limestone, have a granite base, and aluminum spandrels. It was completed in April 1936 at...
  • Lincoln Park, Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool - Chicago IL
    The lily pool is located in Chicago's north side in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, just one block from Lake Michigan. It was dilapidated before 1936 when Chicago Park District employee Alfred Caldwell was asked to redesign it. With funds provided by the WPA, Caldwell designed a beautiful, 3-acre garden in an urban metropolis. With big slabs of limestone, he even created a waterfall. Walking paths guide visitors around the garden, where they can get in touch with native plants and trees. In the southeast corner, Caldwell designed a council ring to sit and relax at. It was a beautiful urban oasis...
  • Lincoln Park, North Avenue Beach and Beach House - Chicago IL
    "In 1934, the Lincoln Park Commission became part of the newly consolidated Chicago Park District and the new agency received substantial funding through President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal. The completion of North Avenue Beach was one of many projects in Lincoln Park funded through the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Construction began in 1939 and the $1,250,000 project included a major improvement to Lake Shore Drive with grade separation providing a new overpass at North Avenue. The new North Avenue Beach, totaled more than 875,000 square feet of new parkland and extended all the way to Fullerton Avenue. Chicago Park...
  • Linne Elementary Mural - Chicago IL
    This 6' x 30' mural titled "The Life of Carl Von Linne" was painted by Ethel Spears in 1939 with the help of the WPA's Federal Art Project.
  • Logan Square Station Post Office - Chicago IL
    This historic Logan Square Station post office in Chicago, Illinois was constructed with federal Treasury Department funds in 1933. The building is still in service.
  • Logan Square Station Post Office Sculpture - Chicago IL
    Hildreth Meiere’s sculpture titled “The Post” was executed and completed in 1937. It can be found in the Logan Square Station Post Office. The piece is made primarily out of metal and is heavily influenced by art deco styles. This work depicts three figures, a mixture of male and female characters. The man in the center is depicted as an almost supernatural or godlike figure. Both his ankles and helmet have wings attached to them, implying flight. Above this powerful figure is a letter flying from one individual to another, all the while the middle figure has an arrow strung...
  • Loop Station Post Office Mural - Chicago IL
    “The Great Indian Council 1833” is a mural painted by Gustaf Dalstrom, who was a Swedish-American artist that attended the Art Institute of Chicago and at one point was the President of the Chicago Society of Arts. Dalstrom painted many murals for the Treasury Department Section of Painting and Sculpture as known as The Treasury Section of Fine Arts. “The Great Indian Council 1833” was originally painted for the Post Office at 840 North Clark Street where it hung from 1938 (year it was finished) until 1983 when the Post Office was converted to a movie theater. The Mural also originally hung...
  • Lucy Flower High School Mural - Chicago IL
    This fresco "Women's Contribution to American Progress" by Edward Millman was painted with WPA Federal Art Project funds. It depicts Lucy Flower, Grace Abbott, Frances Perkins, Jane Addams, Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Tubman, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Clara Barton. There are also allegorical scenes of "Women Sewing" and "Women's Fight for Peace." The mural was painted over in 1941. It was restored between 1995 and 1998.
  • Manley High School Murals - Chicago IL
    These three murals by Gustaf Dahlstrom - "Fall," "Winter" and "Summer," each about 12'7" h x 9'8"w - were found in 1996 during a lead abatement program. Restored in 2002, they had been painted over three times.  
  • Marquette Park - Chicago IL
    "Using federal relief funds, the park district soon converted the golf shelter into a more substantial fieldhouse, and built comfort stations, and a series of footbridges leading to the islands."
  • Mason Elementary School Mural - Chicago IL
    The mural "Spring and Fall" was painted by Grace Spongberg in 1939 with support from the WPA Federal Art Project.
  • McKay School Decorative Landscapes Mural - Chicago IL
    This mural was originally a four-panel screen. Its three remaining panels, each 8' x 4', were restored in 2001.  
  • Merle Reskin (former Blackstone) Theater Renovation - Chicago IL
    On March 8, 1936, The Chicago Daily Tribune  announced the arrival of The Federal Theatre Project (FTP) at two major theaters in Chicago: the Great Northern and the Blackstone. Over the life of the FTP, the Blackstone Theater was used for over twenty productions. The Federal Theater Project was part of the Federal One program under the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The FTP put on public performance but did not normally engage in public works like the rest of the WPA.  Yet, prior to the FTPs acquisition of the Blackstone, it had fallen into a state of disrepair and needed renovations to...
  • Milwaukee-Dearborn Subway System - Chicago IL
    In February 1939, bids were collected by the city subway department to begin construction for the first section of the Milwaukee-Dearborn street subway system that would create a 3,322 foot section of the tunnel between Chicago and Haddon avenues ("Dearborn St. Subway"). This system was part of a larger four part plan to build a large scale 50 mile subway system ("Four Stages"). The expansion would extend rapid service by adding additional subways and connecting existing elevated tracks. The project was largely funded by the New Deal's Public Works Administration after plans were completed and agreements were made in 1938....
  • Montrose Beach - Chicago IL
    "With extensive funding available through Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, the park district began many park improvements, including the Montrose to Foster landfill extension. The plan for the extension included several buildings, and all of them were designed by E.V. Buchsbaum, one of which was the beach house. It was modeled after the North Avenue Beach House, and looks like a lake steamer. Unfortunately, in the 1950s, the east wing of the beach house burned in a fire, which was not rebuilt. Instead, the Park District constructed an open-air changing addition to the south side of the building. Today, the...
  • Morgan Park Post Office - Chicago IL
    The historic Morgan Park post office in Chicago, Illinois was constructed with federal Treasury Department funds in 1936. The building is still in service.
  • Morrill Elementary School Mural - Chicago IL
    The two 2'6" x 30' panels of this mural "Children's Activities" by Lucile Ward were completed with the help of WPA Federal Art Project funds in 1938 and restored in 2001.
  • Mount Greenwood Elementary School - Chicago IL
    A Public Works Administration grant helped fund the construction of Mount Greenwood Elementary School at 108th Street and South Homan Avenue in Chicago’s Mount Greenwood neighborhood. The new school was designed by Board of Education architect John Charles Christensen. The two-story, brick structure included fifteen classrooms, a gymnasium, and an assembly hall. The architectural style of the building, characterized by a low horizontal profile, wide window openings, and geometric brickwork patterns, is similar to that of many other neighborhood schools designed by Christensen during the 1930s. Construction work on the new school began in March 1936 and was completed in...
  • Mozart School: Finch Mural - Chicago IL
    This 10' x 15' mural "Michelangelo in the Medici Gardens, 1490" was painted by Helen Finch in 1937 with funding from the WPA Federal Art Project.
  • Mozart School: Freeman Mural - Chicago IL
    "Characters From Children's Literature," consisting of two 6' x 20' panels, was painted by Charles Freeman in 1937 with funding from the WPA Federal Art Project.
  • Mozart School: Gibson Mural - Chicago IL
    This 6' x 20' mural "Mozart at the Court of Maria Theresa, 1762" was painted by Elizabeth Gibson in 1937 with funding from the WPA Federal Art Project.
  • NBC Building Mural - Chicago IL
    The two panels of this mural titled "History of Transportation" are part of a 31' long panorama originally installed at Lawson School. The mural was painted by Gustaf Dahlstrom with support from the WPA's Federal Art Project.
  • Nettelhorst School Mural - Chicago IL
    "This abstract mural by Rudolph Weisenborn, made in 1939, is a treasured New Deal artifact located in Nettlehorst Elementary School in Chicago." (Flynn and Polese) The mural is entitled "Contemporary Chicago." "Rudolph Weisenborns mural at Nettelhorst Elementary shows his interest in modern European painting styles such as Cubism. Fractured space, jagged lines, and vibrant primary colors convey Chicagos energy and modernity during the 1930s. On the left, an abstracted portrait of a sophisticated urban dweller is followed by forms of modern transportation such as small biplanes at Chicago Municipal Airport (Midway) and boats on Lake Michigan. The right half of the composition shows...
  • Nettlehorst School Mural - Chicago IL
    The 3'2" x 8'6" mural "Horses in Literature," which hangs in Chicago, Illinois's Nettlehorst School, was painted by Ethel Spears during the Great Depression with Federal Art Project funds.
  • North Avenue Beach and Facilities - Chicago IL
    Prior to being a sun-bathing destination, the area now known as the North Avenue Beach was a final resting place for thousands of Chicagoans. In 1835, Chicago authorities set aside land for two cemeteries, one on the south and north sides of the city, according to Feb. 28, 1931 Chicago Tribune article. The cemetery held more than 3,100 burial lots and extended on either side of Clark Street and North Avenue. Although the remnants of those individuals were supposed to removed in 1865, about 200 bodies were left, some of which were discovered Feb. 28, 1931 as workers were doing...
  • O'Toole School Bas Relief - Chicago IL
    This ceramic relief "Physical Education" by Louise Pain was created with funding from the WPA Federal Art Project.
  • O'Toole School Mural - Chicago IL
    The O'Toole School contains a WPA mural entitled "Characters from Children's Literatur" by Alex Topp (Topchevsky). "Alex Topp was born in Chicago, where he studied at the Hull House under his older brother Morris and earned his MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago. Topchevsky worked for the WPA as an easel painter and executed murals for multiple government buildings. He traveled and painted in Mexico, Central America and Europe and is known for his social realist works from the 1930s and 1940s."   (richardnortongallery.com) Medium: tempera on canvas Size: 5'3"h x 24'w
  • Old Town School of Folk Music Mural - Chicago IL
    The two 9' x 34' panels of the mural "The Children's World" were painted by Francis Coan with WPA Federal Art Project funds. They were moved from the Hild Library and restored in 1998.  
  • Outer Bridge Drive (Link Bridge) - Chicago IL
    "The Outer Drive Bridge, also known as the Link Bridge was started in 1929 and completed in 1937 as one of the Public Works Administration's public projects in Chicago...While the completion of the Outer Drive was considered one of the most important projects in the PWA it took many years to complete. A main issue was funding. Due to a lack of provided security by Chicago Park Districts, the allotment for the bridge was revoked until the districts were all in position to comply. The total cost of the Outer Drive is estimated at $11,563,000." (wikipedia.org) "After multiple delays, the Link Bridge...
  • Palmer Park Murals - Chicago IL
    "Palmer Park became part of the Chicago Park District in 1934, when the city's 22 independent park commissions were consolidated into a new unified system. Later that year, park district art director James Edward McBurney created three murals for Palmer Park as a Works Progress Administration project funded by the federal government. The three are: "Native Americans," "explorers," and "Dutch settlers."
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