Public Works in Mississippi: Winona Post Office

Winona Post Office

While the Winona Post Office was constructed with funds authorized as part of President Hoover’s stepped up public works program, it was funded under the Public Buildings Act of 1926.  President Roosevelt would urge Congressional supplementation of the PBA 1926 with the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works.

Another facet of Hoover’s program was to step up industrial construction and public works to fend off unemployment…On November 23 [1929], Hoover wired governors and mayors around the land urging them to expand their public works programs. (Hiltzik, 2010, p. 150)

The Winona Post Office is unique for several reasons.  It is one of four Mississippi post offices constructed under the PBA 1926, and was the first Federal building constructed in Montgomery County (Fazio, et al., 1979).  Perhaps most striking is the transom light above the doorway.

…a leaded glass window with an eagle motif. (Fazio, et al.)

Eagle

The building, featuring a tile-covered mansard roof, retains its original vestibule, and Fazio, et al. describe the Colonial Revival building as retaining “a high degree of integrity.”  They have high praise for other aspects of the building, and considering the commonality of many of the post offices constructed during the years 1933-1941, I have to agree with them.

…well-detailed Colonial Revival brick building with a projecting distill-in-antis portico…Nobly proportioned and carefully detailed, this portico produces a refined monumentality which is unequaled elsewhere in Winona…recalls both Georgian and Federal styles with its meticulous brickwork and limestone articulation.

 

Of interest to me were the resources that provided alternative appraisals of Hoover’s response to the depression–at least in the first two years of his presidency.

Since it was Hoover who pioneered the heavy use of public works to counter the crisis, and this was exactly what Roosevelt, the archetypical progressive, did in the following years, we can safely qualify Hoover’s public works program as a progressive measure. (Townshend, 2009, p. 32)

Fazio, M. W., Parrish, W. E., Blakewell, T., & Franks, C. (1979). Nomination form for the National Register of Historic Places.  Retrieved from http://www.apps.mdah.ms.gov/Public/prop.aspx?id=23987&view=facts&y=959.

Hiltzik, M. (2010). Colossus: Hoover Dam and the Making of the American Century. New York: Free Press.

Townshend, R. (2009). Herbert Hoover: Progressive “Conservative”? Retrieved from http://roundtable.menloschool.org/Issue4/Raphael/Townshend_MS_Roundtable4_Fall_2009.pdf.



Categories: Historic Preservation, New Deal, Post Offices, Winona

7 replies

  1. No mural? It’s a shame!

    Like

  2. As a kid, I went up and down those steps many times!!

    Like

  3. Thanks for the history cover of the building. The custom glass image of the eagle is the most adorable little feature of this post office.

    Like

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