Circa 1942. Photo: Kevin Stillman

Across Texas, murals in post offices and other buildings date to a New Deal-era federal program designed to put artists to work while beautifying public places with depictions of local culture. About 90 such murals survive in the state, including painter Ward Lockwood’s Texas Rangers in Camp in the post office in Hamilton, a Central Texas town. “From the spontaneous remarks of visitors in the post office, I am sure that the mural is the most popular one I have done,” once wrote the late artist, a member of the famed Taos Society of Artists who was teaching at the University of Texas at Austin when he created the work. Shauna Melde, a 33-year post office employee, says the painting remains popular. “People in Hamilton frequently say they remember coming in as kids and seeing the mural,” Melde says. —John Lumpkin

Know of any fascinating vintage Texas photographs? Send copies or ideas to letters@texashighways.com.

From the July 2019 issue

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