New Deal/WPA Art in Oglesby, Illinois

Most of the post office works of art were funded under the Treasury Department's Section commissions. Those works that were created using TRAP funds are so indicated. Although the WPA funded the construction of post office buildings, the artwork was not WPA but was usually produced under the Section or TRAP programs. Unless indicated, works of art are located in the US Post Office building.

U.S. Post Office
203 West Walnut Street
Oglesby, Illinois 61348

The mural in the lobby of the Oglesby, Illinois post office was painted by Fay E. Davis of Chicago in 1942 under the Treasury Department Section of Painting and Sculpture. The cost was $700. It is an oil on canvas entitled "Illini and Potowatomies Struggle at Starved Rock". It is 12'5" x 6'9" and was refurbished in 1988. The mural is currently on display during hours the post office lobby is open.

In June 1993, controversy surrounded the mural when the post office custodian filed a complaint that the mural was sexually explicit and depicted exposed male genitalia. The painting was covered over during the investigation. Les Matanic, manager of post office operations for the central Illinois district, personally inspected the artwork. After consideration, the mural was again put on public display.

Oglesby, IL Post Office - 61348
203 West Walnut Street
"Illini and Potowatomies Struggle at Starved
by Fay E. Davis (1937)

(photographs copyright 2000 Nancy Lorance)

Special thanks to Tina Katkus for her help in researching the Oglesby, Illinois mural.

Article about the Oglesby controversy - News Tribune, June 23, 1993 - pdf file (2.62 MB)

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