WPA 4/5, post offices

My subscription to Academia.edu brings in interesting articles from obscure sources. This article lays out the concept of devotional conservation.

When I model these Lost Places and Patient Things, I’m trying to counteract the modern chaos generators by giving new life to artifacts and viewpoints from saner times. In an era of millisecond-scale Github updates on all “facts” and “morals” and “memories”, it’s crucially important to store and highlight natural sanity and natural facts and constant Natural Law morality.

After doing the school and teacherage, my ‘museum display’ of WPA in Okla felt incomplete. WPA was simultaneously creating new styles with its colorful impromptu rock arches, and conserving old styles by seasoning them with Deco Salt. I needed to do an example of Deco Classical for counterbalance. (Devotional metaconservation.)

This post office at Nowata is a perfect example of the style, but not really a Lost Place. The real building has been continuously used and maintained, and hasn’t been Environmentalized with teensy little windows. It looks the same now as it did in 1937.

The loading dock seems to be open in both the original and modern pictures. In the original it’s covered with something like a bug screen, but I don’t see any folding doors or rollup doors.

The 1937 pic of this post office shows all the sashes open:

As I observed before, those big double-hung windows, along with high ceilings, helped to keep houses cool before mechanical AC.

Cool comes in below, hot goes out above. The typical bungalow had double-hung windows, high ceilings, wide overhangs, and deep porches on both ends. The walls received less sun, the windows performed their task, and the hottest air stayed above your head. It worked well.

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The postal savings system, active from 1910 to 1966, was tremendously popular, and a source of profit for the post office. Postal savings came before WPA, but it was part of the same spirit and the same movement, using government to make life easier for the poor.

In big cities street vendors used postal savings as their night deposit box, buying a postal certificate at the end of the day and cashing it out in the morning. Banks were much less convenient, had shorter hours and snootier clerks.

[Why a horse? Here’s why.]

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WPA is justly famous for its murals in post offices, and the murals have been preserved FAR more actively than schools and teacherages. So I don’t feel obliged to ‘pull up’ the murals. Still, it’s worth noting that snooty LOCAL officials objected to the murals on racial grounds in the ’30s and ordered them to be covered. Now snooty FEDERAL officials are covering up exactly the SAME murals on racial grounds. Now it’s OK because censorious snootiness is ‘progressive’, while paid work for poor people is ‘fascist’.