Horse Swapping Day: Manchester, TN FAP Mural

Minna Citron. 1942. Horse Swapping Day,. [oil on canvas]. USPS, Manchester, TN.

Last week, while enjoying my youngest daughter’s college spring break, we kicked off our mural hunting adventure on our trip to Standing Stone State Park. We were able to view two of the Modern DMA Walls For Women murals, the FAP mural in Livingston, TN, and this one, located in the Manchester, TN post office on our way back. We have found it’s fun to pop into a post office and ask to photograph their mural, and most locals seem to still be proud to have such beautiful works on the walls of their small rural post offices. I’ve compared it to playing Pokémon Go for history nerds.

This mural was part of the “Forty-Eight State Competition” of 1939 which required that the murals reflect the “American Scene.”1 American Painter Minna Citron, accomplished this by featuring the Manchester square in the background, and by giving a nod to Tennessee Walking Horses. One of the horses in the painting is said to be modeled after Gene Autry’s famous horse, Champ, Jr. Already an accomplished artist by this time, Minna Citron, participated in several New Deal programs both as an instructor and as an artist. I look forward to seeing her other Tennessee mural located in Newport, TN, in the future.

The original Manchester post office was located at the intersection of McLean and Spring Streets, from 1921 to 1931, when it was moved across the street to the intersection of North Spring and East Fort streets. Originally, the mural was installed at the 1939 WPA constructed post office located at 200 N Spring Street, on the side of the Manchester town square. Today, the mural is housed in the modern postal facility located at 1601 Hillsboro Blvd.2

  1. Hull, Howard. Tennessee Post Office Murals. Johnson City, TN: Overmountain Press, 1996.
  2. Campbell, Jane Banks, and Lori Jill Smith. Manchester. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2013.

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