National Register of Historic Places in Nye County

National Register #90000136: Tonopah Main Post Office 23 February 2007
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National Register #90000136
Tonopah Main Post Office
201 Main Street
Tonopah
Built 1941

The Tonopah Main Post Office is a well-preserved and unaltered example of a small-town, single-purpose post office in the Starved Classical style. The building exhibits the moderne or the International design influence in its flat facades and lack of explicitly articulated historical design elements, yet retains Classical symmetry and proportion.

The design is a duplicate of several other western post offices, but is the only example of its type in the state of Nevada. Moreover, it is the only example of Depression era federal architecture in Tonopah.

The building is the last federal post office constructed in Nevada before the outbreak of World War II and marks the end of a discrete period of federal design and building philosophy. The building represents the culmination of this period of federal design, which in Nevada begins with the 1891 Carson City Post Office and progresses through the Depression.

Symbolically, the building represents the linkage between the federal government and the local citizens through their elected officials. Finally, the building is a legacy of the vast public works programs of the Depression and the federal government's efforts to aid local economies.

Source: NRHP Nomination submitted in 1990

The Office of the Supervising Architect was an agency of the United States Treasury Department that designed federal government buildings from 1852 until World War II.

1869: United States Mint, Carson City
1888: Federal Government Building, Carson City
1893: United States Post Office and Courthouse, San Francisco
1910: United States Post Office and Courthouse, Eureka
1910: United States Post Office and Federal Building, Santa Rosa

1912: United States Post Office, Chico
1915: United States Post Office, Berkeley
1915: United States Post Office and Courthouse, Medford
1932: United States Post Office, Marysville
1933: United States Post Office and Courthouse, Las Vegas

1933: United States Post Office and Federal Building, Modesto
1933: United States Post Office, Petaluma
1941: United States Post Office, Tonopah

National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933

President Franklin Roosevelt came into office during the worst depression the nation had ever known. Fulfilling a campaign promise to put people to work, he instituted the New Deal to bring economic recovery to the depression-wrought country.

The National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) of 1933 authorized the Public Works Administration (PWA) to provide jobs, stimulate business activity, and increase purchasing power through the construction of permanent and socially useful public works. The Federal Government and local city, county and state governments formed a working partnership resulting in the greatest single construction program in history.

PWA construction projects, in addition to providing employment for the skilled, generated a volume of jobs for the unskilled. The PWA provided loans and grants up to forty percent of the total cost of the project to states, and many other public bodies, including schools.

From 1933-1935, the PWA underwrote projects in 3,040 of the 3,073 counties in all forty-eight states. Of the 3.76 billion dollars of the NIRA fund, 2.56 billion dollars was spent on 19,004 construction projects.

Narrative adapted in part from the NRHP nomination for Tulare Union High School Auditorium and Administration Building dated 16 November 1999.

Many buildings funded by the PWA have been recognized for their historic significance and architectural excellence. Among them are:

California

Adobe Chapel of the Immaculate Conception in San Diego
Aquatic Park in San Francisco
Beach Chalet Murals in San Francisco
Feather River Scenic Byway Tunnels
Federal Building in Merced

Federal Writers and Artists Projects in San Francisco
Gasquet Ranger Station
Mariposa County High School Auditorium
McClatchy Senior High School in Sacramento
Mountain View Adobe
Police Headquarters, Jail & Courts in San Diego

Rincon Annex Post Office in San Francisco
Sacramento Junior College
San Francisco State Teachers College
Sonora Youth Center
Stanislaus Forest Experiment Station

The Fort in Taft
Theodore Judah School in Sacramento
Tulare Union High School

Nevada

Carson City Civic Auditorium
Hoover Dam
Southside School in Reno
Tonopah Main Post Office
USO Building in Hawthorne
Yerington Main Post Office

Oregon

Butte Falls Ranger Station in Butte Falls
Dead Indian Soda Springs Shelter in Rogue River National Forest
Fish Lake Shelter in Rogue River National Forest
Gold Beach Ranger Station
Lake of the Woods Ranger Station in Fremont-Winema National Forest
Lithia Park in Ashland

McKee Bridge Campground in Rogue River National Forest
Wrangle Gap Shelter in Rogue River National Forest

Utah
Bryce Canyon Airport
Dalton Wells Civilian Conservation Corps
Minersville City Hall
Rock House in Arches National Park

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