207 S. Houston Street
Dallas, TX 75202
“Pioneer Homebuilders” 1940. Fresco. 100x236 inches.
“Airmail Over Texas” 1940. Fresco. 100x66 inches.
Sponsored by Roosevelt’s New Deal, murals placed in public buildings were executed by artists working for the Section of Fine Arts administered by the Procurement Division of the Treasury Department. Between 1934 and 1943, more than 60 post offices in Texas were decorated with nearly 100 murals.
Soon after the Terminal Annex in Dallas was completed, three murals were commissioned and a national design competition was held. From an entry field of 149 applicants regionalist painter Peter Hurd — who rose to national fame in the 1930s — won the anonymous competition (the winning designs were displayed with all other entries at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts in 1949).
Hurd was paid $7,200 for the murals and completed them over an 18-month period beginning in 1940. The smallest of the murals was executed first, and a larger wall was painted a year later when building alterations were complete. “Airmail Over Texas” filled the smaller space while “Pioneer Homebuilders” filled a large wall at the north end of the lobby. “East Bound Mail” — a third smaller mural — was never executed due to the termination of the Section of Fine Arts in 1943, before the lobby’s south expansion (and a place for the mural) was complete.
The murals remain in good condition and have been restored in recent years; residing in their original location they provide a colorful addition to the space even as the function of the building has changed.
Information and Photo Credit: Noah Jeppson - www.noahjeppson.com
The building has limited access to the public and photography of the federal facility is generally prohibited. Special permission from the U.S. General Services Administration was obtained for the images shown here.
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