In June 1996, the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program (AHPP) initiated a context-driven survey of the United States Post Offices with artwork installed through the United States Treasury Department’s Section of Painting and Sculpture. It was felt that these properties were in danger of insensitive rehabilitation, deterioration or abandonment for new locations on the outskirts of the small towns in which they were located. It was hoped that by emphasizing the importance of these properties to the understanding and appreciation of Arkansas history during the Great Depression, the AHPP could encourage their continued preservation, protection, use, and adaptive re-use as well as the conservation and preservation of the murals and sculptures that each building contains. (Smith, S. T., & Christ, M. K. Arkansas Post Offices and the Treasury Department’s Section Art Program, 1938-1942. Little Rock, AR: Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, p. 11)
Unfortunately, that effort came to late to save the Magnolia post office from “insensitive rehabilitation.” The former post office building was “converted into a modern library facility” (Cleveland & Thornton, 2013, p. 105) for use as the Columbia County Public Library in 1968 and served in that role until April of 2009. (The History of Columbia County Library) It is currently in use by the Farmer’s Bank and Trust as its Operations Center.
A postcard photograph dated in the 1930s or 40s (based on the cars in the photo) illustrate the building as constructed. The building was buff-colored brick, with wooden double entry doors and 6 over 6 double hung windows on the outer corners. A three-lite transom was located above the door. The windows to either side of the double doors were an intriguing design of a center divided pane flanked by narrow 5-lite panels. The cast-concrete airplane propeller designs remain above the windows. The building was similar in design to the Van Buren, Arkansas post office.
The post office contained a mural by Joe Jones, Threshing, which was installed in 1938, and according to John P. Gill (Post Office Art, Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture), remains in the building.
Cleveland, L. J. & Thornton, D. (2013). Images of America: Columbia County. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing.