New Deal in Mississippi: Eupora Post Office and Mural

Post office corner

The Eupora Post Office was completed in 1941, the 8th Mississippi post office to be designed by Louis A. Simon, Supervising Architect of the Office of Supervising Architect of the Treasury (Mississippi Department of Archives and History/Historic Resources Inventory database).  Neal A. Melick was the Supervising Engineer.  Construction was by Blair, Algernon, Construction Company, who built 9 post offices in Mississippi.  For some original photographs of the construction of the post office, check out Belinda Stewart Architecture!

mural

Thomas “Tom” Savage painted “Cotton Farm” in 1945.  Savage joined the Stone Art Colony in 1932.  Although he was a full-time farmer, he studied at the Layton Art School in Milwaukee.  Of his work, Stone City Art Colony and School, 1932-1933 said,

…typified Grant Wood’s ideal of a regional artist due to his unique combination of talents. (projects.mtmercy.edu)

Savage worked with Wood at the University of Iowa to help produce murals for the 1931 Iowa City PWAP project.  He secured three WPA post office commissions, including the third lesser known one in Eupora.  In an unusual twist to the criticisms of art created under the New Deal programs, Savage’s award-winning work “Butchering on the Farm” was criticized for depicting “unrealistic…bloodless” butchering.  When Eleanor Roosevelt selected his sketch (part of the WPA projects) to hang in the White House, I am certain she was concerned about the lack of blood in the art.  The painting was eventually moved back to Ft. Dodge, Iowa and is part of the permanent collection of the Blanden Memorial Museum.



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

7 replies

  1. I like the eagle sculpture over the door as well.

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  2. Thank you for this post! What a wonderful building. Eupora is very lucky to have such a structure. If I remember correctly this is the first post office you’ve highlighted of this era that is not brick or brick faced. I was not sure if it was stucco or cast in place concrete but the historic photographs answered that question. Those great images show the concrete form work in place for the exterior walls. The structural clay tile is for the interior walls I assume?

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    • I had not thought about that! It does remind me slightly of the ones in Water Valley and Holly Springs, although I like this one the best. I can’t recall for sure, but seems like those were late 40s? Maybe by the time this one was done, everyone was tired of the carbon copy brick post offices.

      I don’t know about any of the details on the construction–I could not locate anything other than MDAH and the photos on Belinda Stewart’s site. Maybe someone else can answer that question?

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  3. What a nice surprise to pull this up! My grandfather worked in this post office starting sometime in the early 1940’s, perhaps when it opened (I’m not sure). The post office’s interior and exterior have changed very little. I think the blue awnings are a recent addition.

    As a child I was enchanted with this mural and I still am! The peaceful farm scene is endearing! I’m thankful that it has been preserved.

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  4. Is there a website (government or otherwise) with documentation of Federal post office projects? I would love to know more about the architect and design for Greenwood’s 1911 Post Office. We do have several construction photos but it would be exciting to find more.

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