Great Depression meets Great Recession

Post Office, 7th and Thompson photo: Ben Leech

New Deal mural in the Spring Garden Post Office at 7th and Thompson. This is one of the neighborhood post offices on the proposed chopping block, and I think it’s the only proposed closure that has any New Deal art left. The artist was Walter Gardner, a local quasi-professional painter who moonlighted as a night watchman at the Philadelphia Bulletin Building. He also did murals for the Family Court Building. These were recently designated to the Philadelphia Register by the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia. Sadly ironic that the Great Depression led to the commission of pieces like this, and the Great Recession is leading to their disappearance today. That and email, I guess. Might be a good time to write a letter.


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About the author

Ben Leech is the former Director of Advocacy at the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia and is a proud dual citizen of Philadelphia and Lancaster (a Philancadelphisterian?). He dabbles in illustration, architectural and otherwise. Some of his extracurricular activities are on display at btleech.tumblr.com

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1 Comment


  1. I used to pick up my mail there in the 90’s, and was always blown away by this mural. If I remember correctly, it’s a lot larger than this photo, and there’s a lot more to it (at least there was when I saw it). A damn, damn shame.

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