Heber Springs Post Office

Image Courtesy of Willie Allen. Used with the permission of the United States Postal Service®. All rights reserved.

Image Courtesy of Willie Allen. Used with the permission of the United States Postal Service®. All rights reserved.


Artist: H. Louis Freund (1905-1999)

Title: From Timber to Agriculture

Date: 1939


Medium: oil on canvas

Location: Heber Springs Municipal Building, located at 102 East Main, Heber Springs, Arkansas


Mural at time of installation. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Mural at time of installation. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

About the Mural: Louis Freund was commissioned for $660 to create a mural for Heber Springs, Arkansas. He visited the town and decided to construct a scene that extolled the early, pioneer life of the community. He experienced a significant degree of difficulty modeling the oxen, being forced to revise them three times before the Section approved of their rendering. Further difficulties arose concerning the angle of the axe in the man’s hand, claims that it appeared limp forced Freund to revise the figure a number of times before it too was finally accepted.

The mural depicts a young pioneer couple and baby, preparing to sow their first crop on recently cleared land. At the left stands a young man, arms upraised, driving an ax into a pine tree. He must also use the ax to clear saplings, roots, and stumps as he plows the soil for planting. At the right, sits the man’s wife holding their child. She uses a gourd to gather water in a bucket from a spring. In the center, a yoke of oxen stand hitched to a plow in the middle of a partially cleared field. Behind them sits the couple’s cabin, washtub, and kettle, for which the woman is gathering water. In the extreme background is Sugar Loaf Mountain.

About the Artist: Harry Louis Freund was born in Clinton, Missouri, on September 16, 1905. He attended Clinton High School and the University of Missouri (1923-1925). He also studied art at St. Louis School of Fine Arts (1925-1929), Washington University, Princeton University and Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.

He was awarded the Edmund H. Wuerpel Scholarship for Foreign Study (1929) which enabled him to travel to several countries and study in Paris at the Colorassi Academy (1929-1930). He also spent an extended period of time in Mexico and Central America to complement his studies. During his career Freund served as a mural designer for the State of Missouri Exhibit at the Chicago World’s Fair of 1933; he was appointed Artist in Residence under the Carnegie Corporation at Hendrix College and spent World War II as the Visual Aids Director for the 8th Service Command.

Later he was an illustrator for the Ford Motor Company as well as working as a faculty member for several schools. He founded the Art Department at the Little Rock Junior College (now UALR) and served as the head of the Art Department at Hendrix College. He founded the summer Art School of the Ozarks at Eureka Springs and was an Artist in Residence at Stetson University, where he subsequently served as the head of the Art Department.

– Biography provided by Arkansas State University

About the Location: Heber Springs, formerly known as Sugar Loaf, is the county seat of Cleburne County. The post office Map of locations of post office murals in Arkansaswas established in 1882 and the community was incorporated later that same year. It wasn’t until 1910 that the town officially changed its name from Sugar Loaf to Heber Springs. The town is situated on the Little Red River and Greers Ferry Lake at the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. The area was principally a farming community during the early 1900s. Timber and logging were the main industries and cotton fields were dispersed throughout the community.