Planes, Trains, And Ships

Fairfield USPS

The Fairfield, Alabama post office has not just one but two WPA / Section works of art inside — above, a 1938 mural painted by Frank Hartley Anderson, ‘Spirit of Steel’. The artist established the Southern Printmaker’s Society in 1934, and their first exhibition was at the library in Birmingham in 1936.  He and his wife, Martha Fort Anderson, taught art in B’ham and Tuscaloosa, where she founded the art program at Bama.  His block prints are fantastic.  His ‘Church Supper‘ won the Edward S. Shorter Prize in 1937 and was on exhibit at the Whitney.  Not only did he do this type of art, but he was an architect and helped plan the city of Fairfield (where this post office is).

His home in B’ham, which I’ve seen referred to as an example of the Mediterranean ‘romantic cottage’ style:
Frank Hartley Anderson Home, Birmingham AL
The home was written about in Architectural Forum in 1926; Martha’s studio was on the top floor.  A 1936 article in the B’ham Post mentioned how advanced the home was, and this piece refers to how they “connected their electric range to Birmingham power, the first in the city to do so. Anderson also installed the first electric dishwasher south of the Ohio River.”

This frieze, ‘Moving the Mail’ shows the three major ways that mail was transported in the ’30s, when this USPS was constructed:
Fairfield USPS

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