I’m sure everyone has heard of the WPA from Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s term in office. It helped bring an end to the “Great Depression”. What I never knew until recently is that there was a lot of artwork done under the Treasury Department’s Section of Painting and Sculpture. Most of this artwork was done in post offices and courthouses that the WPA built. Some of these have been lost when the post offices were closed. Some of them were transferred to museums.
There was an article back in 1999 in the Austin Chronicle that tells about this artwork.
I’ve recently started looking for these during my travels. Here are the ones I’ve found so far.
I recently tried to take pictures of some art in a foyer of a federal courthouse. I was told a camera was not allowed. I wonder if I just had a cellphone that took pictures if I could then do it?
A listing is online at Living New Deal, but this is not a complete listing. If you know of a WPA location not shown on the listing you can submit it and get it listed.
Natchitoches was our Sunday destination, but we had lots of fun stuff to do before we got there.
Waymarking in Nacogdoches, TX
This was a good place to take a break from our long drive and just walk around and take pictures of things people had already created a waymark for.
Waymarking in San Augustine, TX
We did a volksmarch here, and while doing that I took pictures so I could create my own waymarks.
Waymarking in Natchitoches, LA
We did a volksmarch here, and once again I took pictures so I could add waymarks.
Waymarking in Lufkin, TX
Headed home we swung by Lufkin. Here I collected other people’s waymarks and also created a few of my own.
This is a small sculpture garden with only 12 items on display. The displays are not permanent. Not sure how often they rotate the items. Here are the ones we saw.
While in McAllen to do a volksmarching event in conjunction with the Texas Volkssport Association, we had some time fill. We hit upon Quinta Mazatlan, a unique historic adobe mansion.
It is the McAllen Wing of the World Birding Center under the stewardship of the City of McAllen Parks & Recreation Department. Its mission is to preserve the 1930s adobe estate and the native plants and animals of the Rio Grande Valley, by providing a sanctuary for environmental education, eco-tourism and inspiration to people of all ages.
The word ‘Quinta’ in Spanish translates to a country house, villa or estate and the area was originally surrounded by grapefruit orchards when the home was built in the 1930s. The word ‘Mazatlan’ has an ancient Indian translation in Mexico meaning ‘Land of the Deer’ and the name was inspired by the Spanish architecture of the City of Mazatlan area in Mexico which was frequented by the original owners. The admission rates are: Adults: $3.00. Seniors and Children 12 and under: $2.00.
I was unaware at the time that this was also a Volksmarch Year Round Location. Then we saw familiar faces leaving and stopped to chat.
We continued on to the house and took the self-guided tour.
We enjoyed a short stroll around the grounds.
This will be added to my bucket list as a place to return to and do the official Volksmarching event.
After the walk we visited the nearby Art Car Museum which is actually a mixture of cars and art.
From there we went looking for Statesman Park with its Presidential Heads.
Next we went to visit Virtuoso, an abstract of a well moustached man playing a cello in downtown Houston.
We had heard that there were statues of the Beatles and also one of Charlie Chaplin. We went looking for them.
We found Charlie Chaplin and lots of President Heads but no Beatles were found.
Did you know that Trinity University began life at Tehuacana, TX? Where is that you ask. It is in Limestone County in Central Texas. Despite recognition as a “Class A University” and sacrificial efforts by trustees, faculty, and staff they were unable to overcome a chronic lack of financial resources. By the end of the century, enrollment had dramatically declined. The only options were to close or to relocate.
Having just discovered that this old college was in the neighborhood, I went looking for it. It is on the National Register of historical places, but it is literally falling to pieces. What a waste of a beautiful building.
When I circled the building I found the back door standing wide open so I ventured inside. What a mess. But the stairs were still intact so I ventured up and found the auditorium.
The windows are mostly broken out and the vultures were making themselves at home.
We were passing right by Cisco on our way to Baird, so we decided to get off I-20 and see what was there. There were several interesting items already waymarked for us to visit like the First National Bank (now a Car Quest Parts House) which was robbed by Santa Claus on 12/23/1927. A.C. Greene wrote a book that tells the story of how “Santa Claus” attempted to rob the Bank. So we stopped by Car Quest and there is a historical marker near the front door.
Next we visited the Mobley Hotel where Conrad Hilton’s hotel empire began. A.J. Olsen Construction built the Mobley Hotel in 1916 for Henry Mobley. Conrad Hilton purchased the hotel in 1919, during the time it catered to the participants of the Ranger oil field boom in west central Texas. The building is significant for being the first Hilton Hotel even though it never actually bore the Hilton name. The nearby town of Abilene got that honor when Conrad Hilton bought its Windsor Hotel and renamed it.
The Mobley Hotel is now the home of the Cisco Chamber of Commerce and it is also a Community Center. Nearby is a gorgeous clock. It had been formerly mounted on the corner of the bank building (the one that got robbed). It has a Frank-Lloyd-Wright-ish Prairie-style design, and probably dated somewhere between 1910s-1920s.
Further back is playground with the Union Pacific caboose number 25223. The rail line through Cisco was originally the Texas & Pacific, which was bought out by the Missouri Pacific in 1928. In 1980 Union Pacific bought out the Missouri Pacific. The caboose is locked but you can climb the steps and peek inside.
Another waymarking category is “Victorian Homes” and Cisco has a lovely one at Sixth Street and Avenue I. This is a private residence and not open for tours.
Right next door is the Log Cabin Guest Haus. This is a bed and breakfast. This historic two story cabin from the 1840’s was moved to Cisco from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and lovingly restored and furnished with period antiques.
Then there is the beautiful stone arch made of local sandstone at the entry to Cisco’s historic Oakwood Cemetery.
Those were all existing waymarks, but seeing all the beautiful churches I had to stop and take pictures so I could add waymarks for them.
The city has lots of murals which I have not as yet waymarked. To waymark they require you to furnish the artist’s name, and none of these murals were signed.
We saw other interesting places that might fit into an architectural design style like “Art Deco” or “Frieze Art”, but since I’m not an expert on this I won’t be waymarking these buildings.
Cisco is an interesting place to visit. Well worth a detour off of I-20.