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Milaca, MN New Deal Art

New Deal/WPA Art in Milaca, Minnesota

There is a series of WPA/FAP murals painted by Andre Boratko in the old Milaca City Hall in Milaca, Mille Lacs County, Minnesota:

photo credit: The New Deal Network
Control Number : RG 69 Neg.14771-C

photo credit: The New Deal Network
Control Number: RG 69 Neg.14770-C

The building itself was built of native stone, in 1936, by the Works Progress Administration under the direction of an architect from St. Cloud by the name of Louis C. Pinault. They were painted by artist Andre Boratko and are breathtaking. The murals are oil on canvas, located in the auditorium, and depict the early days of Milaca’s lumbering and logging era.

One mural shows two lumberjacks with a cross cut saw, cutting down a tree. Milaca is located along the Rum River, and had a sawmill near the site of the former railroad bridge. Located in an area known for its white pine, the original name for the settlement had been “Oak City.”

James J. Hill was president of the Mille Lacs Lumber Company, which owned the planning mill on the river. After being platted in 1886, the town was given its Native American name, meaning “great white father.” The old City Hall is located on Hwy. 169 in the downtown area.

Information contributed by Debra J. Richardson