This is the second mural I found on my way to Martin last month, and this is the third Post Office I have visited with this particular layout, which I’m finding almost as interesting as looking for the murals themselves. As you can see from the photo below, this particular building was erected in 1936, as part of the New Deal program to bring modern post offices to rural areas and small towns across the country. This particular mural looks back at the history of Tennessee, showing a log cabin with a person assumed to be Davy Crockett and the purchase of land from the Native Americans on the left side of the panel, moving through the plantation era in the center to the state’s industrialization period with the depiction of a stage coach and the coming railroad in the right portion of the piece. According to The New Deal Art Registry, artist Minetta Good received this commission as well as a second one entitled Evangeline in the St. Martinville, LA Post Office- which can be viewed at the link above.
While there is certainly an oversimplification of Tennessee’s tumultuous past in this painting, I do like how Good included people from various groups that made the state what is is today: Native Americans, Scotch- Irish Pioneers, African Americans, railroad workers, farmers, men, women, even a small child down in the bottom right corner. I feel these people observing the scene can be interpreted as the past, present, and future generations of Tennesseans. I enjoyed visiting the little town of Dresden quite a lot, and took the time to explore the grounds of their courthouse while I was there as well. I’m learning that every little town has an interesting story to tell, if we just stop and take the time to listen. I invite you to go explore a small town in your corner of the world, and look to see what stories it holds. Who Knows? Maybe I’ll see you out there.