And in the end –

What do we do with history after it’s been created? Put it away in books, museums, special archives, only to pull it out every 100 years when there’s a celebration? I’ve read of cities that embrace their past and use it to revitalize their downtown areas by encouraging tourist to come explore a place where art and history meet. I am enchanted by this idea and I can visualize this classic building full of wonderful rooms with tall ceilings, flooded with light, converted into small galleries that showcase the unique & talented artists that live on the South Plains.

Construction on the project was completed in the middle of June 1932. In addition to the Post Office and the United States District Court, the earliest occupants included the Department of Internal Revenue, Immigration Service, Army Recruiting Office, and the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Biological Survey. In succeeding years new Depression era agencies such as the Resettlement Administration and the Bureau of Emergency Crop Loans also occupied the building.

During World War II the Coast Guard,

the Marine Corps,

and the Navy opened recruiting offices in the building (Lubbock City Directories, 1933-1944). The presence of so many federal offices clearly indicated Lubbock’s role as the economic and governmental center for the South Plains region.

(And proudly displayed a lot of great art. This poster is from a exhibit at the University of Houston: Let's Go Navy! The Art of the Navy Recruiting Poster Then and Now)

This public building represents the symbolic link between federal government and local citizens. Constructed of materials designed to blend with other public and commercial buildings around the square, the Post Office and Federal Building is now one of the few early 20th century examples remaining intact. In 1950, a new courthouse replaced the 1916 version which subsequently was demolished in the early 1960’s. Similarly styled classical buildings such as First National Bank and the old city hall have also been demolished. Of the historic public buildings in the vicinity of the courthouse square, only the 1931 Art Deco jail survives.

FootNote: The 1931 Jail is set to be demolished as soon as the new jail is completed.

1915 County Courthouse with 1932 Jail in background

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