Airmail

A fresco by Edwin Boyd Johnson

June 1935

The Treasury Section of Fine Arts announces a competition to design and paint a nine foot wide by four foot, six inch high mural for the Melrose Park Post Office.

 


January 1937

Artist Edwin Boyd Johnson is selected as the winner with his entry entitled Airmail.  According to the artist, Airmail is “Symbolic of air mail . . . and is a composite design of buildings typical of the town [Melrose Park].  The sun, moon and stars are symbolic of the continuous day and night air mail service.”


May 1937

Airmail is installed (at a cost of $650.00) above the postmaster’s office in the Melrose Park Post Office at 801 N. Broadway.


November 1966

The post office at 801 N. Broadway is replaced by a new facility on 25th Avenue.


March 1969

The General Services Administration officially declares the old post office on Broadway as surplus property.


October 1969

The Village of Melrose Park purchases the abandoned post office for conversion into the town’s new library.


October 1971

The conversion of the old post office is complete and the new library is dedicated.


April 1972

As no trace of the mural can be found, the GSA declares Airmail to have been destroyed during the renovation process.


April 2007

Former resident Richard Grunt inquires about the disposition of Airmail, leading to the mural’s re-discovery above the circulation desk, hidden by a drop ceiling.


August 2007

Mayor Ron Serpico kicks off our restoration fundraising with a $5,000 donation.


September 2009

The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation gives the library a $10,000 matching grant (on top of a $5,000 grant in October, 2008) and Mayor Serpico donates an additional $2,000 to complete our fundraising.


October 2009

Parma Conservation removes the remnants of Airmail for restoration at their facility in Chicago.

 

 

 

 

 


October 2009– April 2010

Restoration of the fresco takes approximately five months.

 

 

 

 

 


April 2010

In April 2010, the fully restored fresco Airmail is officially unveiled in the Melrose Park Historical Center.


November 2012

The fresco Airmail is moved to the front of the library in the Kiddieland room.


The Melrose Park Public Library would like to acknowledge the generous support of the following organizations and individuals for their contributions to restoring this community treasure.

The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation
Ronald M. Serpico, Mayor of Melrose Park
Sam’s Club
Fifth Third Bank
The Melrose Park Historical Society
Reapers Inc. MC
and
Countless individual supporters of this restoration project