New Deal/WPA Art in Birmingham, Michigan

This Post Office mural was funded by the Section of Fine Arts under the Treasury Department and not the WPA.

Birmingham, MI Post Office
"The Pioneering Society's Picnic" - tempera
Carlos Lopez (1942)

Images courtesy of the USPS

Photographs of the restoration courtesy of
The Daily Oakland Press, Pontiac, MI

Thanks to Paul Petosky who contributed the photographs and information!

Reference Source:
Democratic Vistas: Post Offices and Public Art in the New Deal
by Marlene Park & Gerald E. Markowitz


The Birmingham, MI Post Office (Oakland County) was originally established as Bloomfield on March 24, 1821 with Sidney Dole as its first postmaster. The name was changed to Birmingham on April 5, 1838. The exterior photo shows the Birmingham, MI Post Office (circa 1950s). This Post Office building was dedicated on May 18, 1940. At that time they were celebrating the 119th Anniversary of the post office, along with the dedication of the new Post Office building. A tempera mural on panel was painted by Cuban-born artist Carlos Lopez, and titled, "The Pioneering Society's Picnic," and was installed in the Birmingham Post Office on August 12, 1942. This building is no longer used as a Post Office, and is now used as a postal administration center. On March 23, 2006, the professional art conservators team from Parma Conservation in Chicago, IL did restoration work on the 66 year old mural. Elizabeth Kendall, owner and head conservator of Parma Conservation, along with Peter Schoenmann, paintings conservator began the four day restoration project on this beautiful piece of art. This former Birmingham, MI Post Office building is located on Martin Street. The new Birmingham, MI Post Office is located at 1221 Bowers St. Zip Code for Birmingham, MI is 48012.

Information courtesy of "Postmarks from the Past,"

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© 2006 Nancy Lorance
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