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Post Office murals restored, reunited

Ewa Devereux, a conservator, cleans and restores the “Advent of the Pioneer, 1851” mural before hanging it for display at the Chicago Loop Station.

Two Post Office murals are side by side again and looking better than ever after almost 40 years apart.

The Depression-era murals, “Great Indian Council of 1833” and “Advent of the Pioneer, 1851,” greeted customers inside a Chicago Post Office before it closed in the 1970s.

The murals were then placed in storage until “Great Indian Council of 1833” was later chosen for display in the Chicago Loop Station without a plaque or any identifying information.

The mural was in poor condition by that time and continued to deteriorate through the years.

The General Services Administration (GSA) and USPS joined forces a few years ago to preserve murals with American-Indian themes.

The GSA received permission to reunite the mural with “Advent of the Pioneer, 1851,” which the agency learned was on display at the Chicago Cardiss Collins Main Post Office.

Though “Advent of the Pioneer, 1851” was in better condition than its former wall mate, it too received a makeover for the Chicago Loop Station reunion.

“The results of the conservation are dramatic,” said Caroline Sachay, a GSA regional official. “People have stopped from outside the glass windows to peer in at the murals.”

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