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Silver Spring in Montgomery County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

A New Deal in Town

Silver Spring Post Office

 

—Silver Heritage Georgia Avenue —

 
A New Deal in Town Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 22, 2012
1. A New Deal in Town Marker
Inscription.

Silver Spring During the Civil War
If you has used our post office between 1937 and 1981 you would have seen a mural depicting a possible Civil War scenario.

Opened on March 1, 1937, the Georgian Revival style Silver Spring post office at 8412 Georgia Avenue was the first Federal building constructed in Montgomery County. Inside the lobby was a 5' 11" x 15' 11" oil-on-canvas mural titled The Old Tavern, by Nicolai Cikovsky. This artwork was a product of the U.S. Treasury Department's Section of Painting and Sculpture, created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal administration to incorporate murals and sculpture in new post office construction. The purpose of the program was to employ out-of-work artists and educate the American public about their culture and history.

The mural depicts Civil War Union soldiers who have picked up their mail at the Eagle Inn, a tavern that stood on the corner of Georgia Avenue and Colesville Road. When Cikovsky was asked about the inclusion in the mural of an African-American soldier, seen holding his rifle in one hand and a letter in the other, his reply was "...he is intended to symbolize the result of the Civil War -- namely the liberation of his race." As a matter of fact, over 209,000 African-Americans joined the Union Army to serve during the Civil War.
A New Deal in Town Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 22, 2012
2. A New Deal in Town Marker
This mural now hangs in the Silver Spring Library.
 
Location. 38° 59.617′ N, 77° 1.61′ W. Marker is in Silver Spring, Maryland, in Montgomery County. Marker is at the intersection of Georgia Avenue (U.S. 29) and Bonifant Street, on the right when traveling south on Georgia Avenue. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 8408 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring MD 20910, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. You Are Here - 1931 (here, next to this marker); First Bank, First Heist (within shouting distance of this marker); Spirited Entertainment (within shouting distance of this marker); Springing Up (within shouting distance of this marker); A Community Grows (within shouting distance of this marker); The Burger King (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Land, Lumber & Lyrics (about 400 feet away); Visions Realized (about 500 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Silver Spring.
 
Categories. African AmericansArts, Letters, MusicWar, US Civil
 
Total Recall image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 22, 2012
3. Total Recall
Artist and Russian immigrant Nicolai Cikovsky interviewed 79-year-old Blair Lee, former U.S. Senator (D-Md.), born here in 1857. Lee had many memories of what the community, then named Sligo, looked like. the main crossroads of Sligo were Washington & Bookeville Turnpike and Ashton, Colesville & Sligo Turnpike (Georgia Avenue and Colesville Road). The Eagle Inn, on the right side of the mural, stood on the southwest corner of this intersection.
Close-up of mural on marker
Final Preparations image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 22, 2012
4. Final Preparations
Workers apply finishing touches to the mural "The Old Tavern" in December 1937. Post office murals were traditionally installed above the postmasters' office doors.
Close-up of photo on marker
Handled with Care image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 22, 2012
5. Handled with Care
Removed from the Silver Spring post office in 1981,the mural was located by Silver Spring Historical Society founder Jerry A. McCoy in 1994. We postal employees unrolled the mural for the first time, it was covered with Japanese tissue paper to protect the painting's surface. Friends of the Silver Spring Library raised $25,000 to conserve the mural, rededicated a the Silver Spring Library July 7, 1997.
Close-up of Jerry McCoy's photo on marker
Greetings From Home image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 22, 2012
6. Greetings From Home
A civic landmark, the Silver Spring post office was featured on a "linen" textured postcard published 1946 by Curtiech-Chicago. The postcard's message was written by Harold W. Thatcher, who lived in Silver Spring on Greenbrier Drive, and mailed to this son Sanford who was away at camp.
Close-up of postcard on marker
Jerry McCoy Collection
Century Marks image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 22, 2012
7. Century Marks
A souvenir envelope features the 100th anniversary postmark commemorating the 1899 establishment of Silver Spring's post office. Cachet and postmark were designed by Jerry A. McCoy. The 15¢ airmail stamp was first issued in Silver Spring May 3, 1963. Featuring Montgomery Blair, who served as President Abraham Lincoln's postmaster general, the stamp commemorates the international Postal Conference centennial. Initiated by Blair, son of Silver Spring's founder Francis Preston Blair, the I.P.C. established uniform mail rates and weights between nations.
Close-up of envelope on marker
Jerry McCoy Collection
The Old Tavern image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, January 7, 2006
8. The Old Tavern
at the Silver Spring Library, 8901 Colesville Road
The African-Amerrican Soldier image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, January 7, 2006
9. The African-Amerrican Soldier
on the Cikovsky's "The Old Tavern" mural.
Union Soldiers Reading Mail image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, January 7, 2006
10. Union Soldiers Reading Mail
The Eagle Inn image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, January 7, 2006
11. The Eagle Inn
Nicolai Cikovsky<br>1937 image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, January 7, 2006
12. Nicolai Cikovsky
1937
Signature on "The Old Tavern" mural
The Old Post Office image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 22, 2012
13. The Old Post Office
Map - You Are Here image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 22, 2012
14. Map - You Are Here
Close-up of map on marker
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 344 times since then and 6 times this year. Last updated on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14. submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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