Safford, Arizona – April 2022 – Post Office Murals

From 1934 until 1943 the U.S. Department of Treasury funded a program that produced murals for Post Offices across the country, most as they were being built. This brief posting highlights the murals in the Safford, Arizona Post Office.

Safford is one of the larger towns in eastern Arizona, with a population today of about 10,000, although only 2,000 people lived there when the post office was built during this period.

The murals are titled ‘The History of The Gila River Valley’, completed by Seymour Fogel who was once an apprentice to Diego Rivera. It depicts the pioneers of the area, including the conquistadors and a Franciscan monk, farmers, cowboys and natives.

Fogel’s initial proposal had more intense detail of the plight of the Native American’s, but it was met with such resistance from the local townspeople that the design was modified to this more sterilized version.

Tucson – March 2022 – The Best of Murals

Tucson has literally hundreds of murals scattered around town. These, in my opinion, are the best.

‘Howdy From Tucson’
960 South Freeway — Tuxon Hotel
Artists – Joe Pagac, Arielle Pagac-Alelunas, Lena Alelunas, and Brett Wolgemuth
Community Foundation Campus Mural
5049 East Broadway Blvd
Artist – Ignacio Garcia
Tribute to video game ‘Earthbound’, which has a town called Twoson in it
5055 East Speedway Blvd
Artist – Ignacio Garcia
Loft Cinema
3233 East Speedway Blvd
Artist – Jessica Gonzalez
Momo’s Mexican Restaurant
1838 East 6th Street
Artist – Danny Martin
Sahara Apartments
919 North Stone Ave
Artists – Joe Pagac and Katherine Joyce
‘Roadrunner Cycling’
601 North Stone Ave
Joe Pagac
‘Epic Rides’
534 North Stone Avenue
Artist – Joe Pagac77
‘Epic Rides’
534 North Stone Avenue
Artist – Joe Pagac
‘Goddess of Agave’
440 North 7th Avenue
Artist – Rock Martinez
‘Families Belong Together, Water & Thorns’
86 East Alameda Street
Artists – Racheal Rios & Carlos Valenzuela
‘El Tour de Tucson’
177 North Church Avenue
Artists – Joe Pagac, Katherine Joyce, Arielle Alelunas and Brady Fellows
Solar Culture Gallery
31 East Toole Avenue
‘Harboring Beauty’
191 East Toole Avenue
Artist Joe Pagac
‘Ocaso’
319 West Simpson Street
Artist – Isaac Caruso
‘La Pilita Cultural Center’
401 S Main Avenue
Artist – Martin Moreno
Hotel McCoy Mural – I am unable to locate the name or artist (any help will be greatly appreciated)
Hotel McCoy
720 West Silverlake Road
Artist – Joe Pagac
Arizona Arts Live
702 South Stone Avenue
Artist – Robb Harris
Old Pueblo Parking Garage
33 West Congress Street
Artist – Danny Martin
‘Salvador Duran’
111 South 6th Avenue
Artist – Diego Roa
‘Vergiss’
178 East Broadway Blvd
Artist – Fin Dac
‘La Mujer Empoderada’ (The Empowered Woman)
1 North 5th Avenue
Artist – Ignacio Garcia
One of a series of murals at 197 East Toole Avenue – Studio One (A Place for Art and Activism). Tucson is located in the historic lands of the Tohono O’odham.
English Salon Spa
27 North Scott Avenue
Artist – Rachel Fitz
Cobra Arcade
63 East Congress Street
Artist – El Mac
‘Barrio Viejo’
600 South Meyer Avenue
Artist – Johanna Martinez

‘Dream of a Sunday Afternoon In Menlo Park’
Avenida Del Palo Fierro
Artist – Rock Martinez
La Chaiteria
1002 West Congress Street
Artist – Alejandra Trujillo
‘Butterfly Lady’
1016 West St Marys Road
Artists – Sawaki & Wagon Burner Arts

Chicago – September 2021 – Phoning In Some Murals

An unexpected, brief, trip to Chicago left me without a camera – so this posting is solely the result of an iPhone camera.

A quick internet search for some of the more interesting murals in the city, plus discovering some not on the list by chance. I like to find murals that the surroundings add to the photo as well.

Many were in locations that made it tough to get a clear photo, but the varied angles also have added to the composition, rather than a ‘directory of images’.

Dayton, Ohio – April 2021 – Mural Groupings

The city of Dayton, as with most American cities, have a decent number of murals.

In Dayton it seems they are grouped together by themes.

The riverbank has a large concrete flood wall that has a mural it’s entire length.

Another large collection celebrates Dayton’s history in Funk Music., an R & B mainstay in the 1970s and 1980s.

Not far away is a freeway retaining wall with the history of the Dayton Fire Department.

Southern Ohio – October 2020 – Views from Above

Todays Drone Tour starts out along the Ohio River at Portsmouth. The first view shows the flood wall covered in murals (later posting revisiting the murals).

The sun was just rising in the east, giving the U.S. Grant Bridge and the Ohio River some interesting lighting.

The Carl Perkins Bridge across the Ohio River, where the Scioto River enters.

The hills in Kentucky with the clouds reflected in the river.

Spartan Stadium was home to the NFL’s Portsmouth Spartans from 1928 until 1933, when the NFL had teams in relatively small cities. The Spartans moved to Detroit and live on to this day as the Detroit Lions.

An overview of the city of Portsmouth. The town has for decades lost population, dropping from a high of 43,000 in 1930 to the current population of 20,000.

The view east

Norfolk Southern Railroad has a large yard along the river in east Portsmouth.

Lake White State Park near Waverly.

The next stop was the city of Chillicothe. This view is of a large paper mill.

The same neighborhood has this large grain elevator. Unfortunately at this time the rain came and the drone became grounded.

Portsmouth, Ohio – October 2020 – Floodwall Murals

Portsmouth easily has one of the best collection of murals in the country. They have taken a massive, ugly concrete flood wall and created almost 1/2 mile of murals celebrating the towns history.

The drone view give an idea of how large they are – this is just a small portion.

The theme of the walls was 2000 years of history in 2000 feet of flood walls. They were created by a team lead by Robert Dafford, a famed mural painter.

Most sections of the wall are 40′ wide x 20′ high. Some, such as the view of Portsmouth in 1903, take up multiple sections.

Some aren’t even on the flood wall, including this mural on the side of the local Kroger Grocery store.

The floodwall not only runs along the river but in places goes inland. One of the inland sections celebrates sports, including the ‘Tour of the Scioto River Valley’, an annual bicycling event that goes the 100 miles from Columbus to Portsmouth, then back.

Another section of the inland wall includes a tribute to the local labor unions.

Another includes Portsmouth’s rich baseball history.

The original U.S Grant bridge is featured on this panel.

For a short time there was an amusement park located in Portsmouth, but it was badly damaged in the 1913 flood.

The shoe industry was one of the major employers in Portsmouth.

Streetcars provided transportation from the late 1800s until 1939.

Government Square was the center of the city in the early 1900s.

The murals are done with fantastic depth.

One of the original NFL teams, the Portsmouth Spartans.

Portsmouth has had a few devastating floods, including 1937.

Chillicothe Street has always been the main commercial street in town.

Industry in Portsmouth.

A close up of the detail of the right panel for industry.

A 3 panel education mural shows various periods.

Situated in southernmost Ohio, the railroads have always been an important part of Portsmouth’s industry.

The Portsmouth Motorcycle Club is the oldest in the world, having been founded in 1893. Obviously it had to be founded as a bicycle club first since the first motorcycle was not invented until 1898.

It was known as the Portsmouth Cycling Club from 1893 until 1913.

This western view would be the actual view if the flood wall was not in the way.

Much like the European settlers later, the Native Americans utilized trails that went through the area. One originated on Lake Erie near Sandusky and went south along the Scioto River to Portsmouth.

The original village was known as Alexandria, but was abandoned due to frequent flooding.

The first European settlers arrived in larger numbers in the early 1800s.

The completion of the Ohio and Erie Canal was a boom to the area.

Built in 1901 this rail station served both Norfolk and Western as well as the Baltimore and Ohio Railroads. It was used until 1931 when an art deco station was completed.

A close up of the Chillicothe Street mural.

The Riverfront in 1903.

The Portsmouth Murals are one of the most impressive art installations in Ohio – well worth a trip.

Springfield, Ohio – October 2020 – Architecture at the End of the Road

In the 1800s Springfield was known as the City at the End of the Road, since the National Road ended there. Eventually it was extended and most people kept going, bypassing Springfield. Still it grew into a medium sized city with about 100,000 people in the area.

As with most Ohio cities of this size, the buildings tend to be older; built during Springfield’s heyday. This former church is now a community center.

This mural celebrates Springfield’s entertainment history. It covers the entire 6 floors of the back of the Regent Theater.

The side of the YMCA has another great mural.

The former city hall now houses the Clark County Heritage Center. Completed in 1890 the clock at the top must be adjusted manually during the spring and fall time changes.

Ironically despite the fact it was built to house the clock, it was 34 years before they had an actual working one – prior to the it just had a clock face painted on.

As usual I was on the lookout for ghost signs, this one on a building with a perfectly symmetrical, but sketchy looking, fire escape.

The Clark County Literacy Coalition is located in the former Warder Public Library building. It’s patron was from local industrialist Benjamin Warder in 1890. Warder made his money with the Champion farm machinery company, later becoming International Harvester.

The building is built of Ohio sandstone with Worcester brownstone trim, and a fantastic red slate roof.

The view across the street of St Raphael Church is framed by the main entrance’s archway.

Situated on a small hill, St Raphael is very prominent on the skyline of the city.

It is 156 steps to reach the top of the 184′ tower, but much easier to send the drone up for a closer view.

We leave Springfield with three great advertising signs – two old signs – one ghost signs, one in perfect condition, along with a great Big Boy!

Columbus – September 2020 – Murals Part 2

The mural tour continues downtown and in Short North and beyond.

James ‘Buster’ Douglas was a heavyweight boxing champion from Columbus. A restaurant in an alley downtown has him taking down Mike Tyson!

Around the corner is a blues bar with a full back wall of murals.

Graffiti on the walls that seems to have itself been graffitied.

In the Short North area nearly every street corner along High Street has a mural or two.

Gentrified murals.

Sideway Mona Lisa in an alley.

The BLM movement has resulted in numerous additions to the collection, with relevant social commentary.

The artist Daniel Rona has many murals throughout the city feature characters with X’s for eyes.

How true – live every day like it is your last!

A retaining wall along Broadway showing the history of the Clintonville neighborhood.

This drive through carry out on Parsons Avenue had an eclectic collection of people, and the used car lot next door’s collection of cars.

Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD) has an entire alley of fantastic murals.

Next stop – the Milo Grogan neighborhood, and an artist group’s collection.

This food pantry had a nice mural, with the well placed left over paint bucket.

Our final mural is along a gym in Grandview Heights.