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New Deal/WPA Art in Hamburg, Iowa

This Post Office mural was funded by the Section of Fine Arts under the Treasury Department and not the WPA.

Hamburg, IA Post Office

“Peony Festival at Hamburg” – mural

William E. L. Bunn (1941)
(Mural has been replicated due to extensive damage)

The Postmaster sought to expand his office out into the lobby, which required removing the wall the mural hung on. Instead of notifying the GSA of the problem so that experts could remove the mural, he enlisted the help of an amateur painter friend, retired dentist Dr. Harvey Bang. In Bang’s words “The janitor and myself took the mural from the wall with loving care with spatulas, putty knives and finally sheer strength.” Almost none of the paint survived on the mural after “removal” and nothing but a sorry rag remained. Dr. Bang’s efforts of restoring the mural also came to nothing. According to the staff and the left hand corner of the replicated mural, Tony Rajer’s art class at the University of Wisconsin painted this replica in 1999.

- source: New Deal Mural Projects in Iowa by Lea Rosson DeLong & Gregg R. Narber (1982)

Image courtesy of the USPS

Photograph taken in 2004 by Post Office Staff