Image Courtesy of Willie Allen. Used with the permission of the United States Postal ServiceŽ. All rights reserved.
Artist:Dr.Bertrand R. Adams (1907-1994 )
Title: Lumbering in Arkansas
Medium:oil on canvas
Location:Siloam Springs Post Office located at 101 South Broadway, Siloam Springs, Arkansas
About the Mural: Bertrand Adams was commissioned for $600 to create a mural for Siloam Springs, Arkansas as a result of competent work submitted in the Dubuque, Iowa, Section of Fine Arts competition. He had a significant amount of trouble determining his subject matter and the Section critiqued his style and subject more than any other artist that created a mural for Arkansas. Adams, discouraged by these dilemmas, decided to resign from the commission, but was convinced by Rowan to reconsider.
The mural at the time of installation. National Archives, Washington, D.C.
The mural depicts the four principal economic activities of Arkansas: lumbering, mining, agriculture, and manufacturing. In the center of the mural is a saw mill, used to cut gathered lumber. To the left is a zinc mine with ashen gray domes of extracted ore and residue. In the foreground are farmers with a load of hay pulled by mules. Finally, the building to the right of the saw mill is a cotton ginning mill, a manufacturing plant.
About the Artist:Dr. Bertrand R. Adams was born in 1907 on Meadow View Farm, near Webster City, Iowa. After graduating from high school, he enrolled in an art correspondence course offered by the Federal School of Commercial Design (now the Art Instruction Schools). He received his diploma from the program in 1932, and also earned a BFA degree in art and economics from the University of Iowa the same year. In 1934, he was selected by Grant Wood to be one of 14 assistants to help execute a set of murals for the Iowa State College Library. He went on to complete two post office murals for the Fine Arts Section; one in Dubuque Iowa entitled Early Settlers of Dubuque in 1937, and the mural at the Siloam Springs Post Office in Arkansas in 1940. Adams went on to study at the Des Moines Still College of Osteopathy (now Des Moines University) where he received his license to practice medicine in 1943. He worked as an osteopathic physician in Ames, Iowa from 1944 to his retirement in 1991. He was married to Mary Beymer Adams (1909-2005), who was also an artist.
About the Location:Siloam Springs, in Benton County, was incorporated on May 28, 1881. The area's first settlement was called Hico. The town lies nestled in the Ozark Mountains next to Sager Creek, named for Simon Sager, a settler who came to the area in the mid 1830s. The first post office, Hico Post Office, was established in 1855, but was renamed Siloam Springs Post Office in 1882. In 1892, the Kansas City Southern Railroad passed through the town, bringing with it industrial and technological advancement opportunities.