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.


View Larger Map

About the author

Ben Leech is a preservationist, architectural historian and illustrator based in Philadelphia and Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Instagram @bentleech and support his capitalist alter-ego at Archivolt Press



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.

Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

Recent Posts
Secrets! Romance! Scandal! The Hush-Hush Love Of Philly's Paint King And His Irish Lass

Secrets! Romance! Scandal! The Hush-Hush Love Of Philly’s Paint King And His Irish Lass

December 8, 2017  |  Harry K's Encyclopedia

Harry K. takes us to Old City where the flames of a secret affair scorched newspaper headlines in the early 1900s > more

Marc Lamont Hill Energizes Germantown Ave With New Bookstore Cafe

Marc Lamont Hill Energizes Germantown Ave With New Bookstore Cafe

December 6, 2017  |  Vantage

Academic, activist, and political commentator Marc Lamont Hill carries the tradition of the Black-owned bookstore into the 21st century with Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee and Books. John Henry Scott has the details > more

Give $$$, Get a Cool Perk: 2017 Campaign

Give $$$, Get a Cool Perk: 2017 Campaign

December 4, 2017  |  Vantage

Hidden City's annual fund drive is in full swing on Generosity and we've got a brand new batch of perks celebrating Philadelphia available. Here's a look at this year's killer lineup > more

Three Historic Designation Removals Call Procedure Into Question

Three Historic Designation Removals Call Procedure Into Question

November 30, 2017  |  Vantage

Three historic properties on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places were abruptly stripped of legal protection last week. Contributor Starr Herr-Cardillo unpacks the details of each situation > more

Before Digital Sign Domination, A Giant Coffee Pot Reigned Supreme

Before Digital Sign Domination, A Giant Coffee Pot Reigned Supreme

November 29, 2017  |  The Shadow Knows

The Shadow pours us a steamy cup of Center City history with the story behind Ellis Coffee Company's ginormous percolator that once lorded over South 16th Street > more

This #GivingTuesday, Rev Up Our Hope Machine

This #GivingTuesday, Rev Up Our Hope Machine

November 28, 2017  |  Vantage

Oil our gears, tune up our engine, our annual fund drive is our hope machine, providing us with enough operating support to produce 150 news and feature articles a year. Give now and keep the Hidden City Daily going for another year > more