Driving through Rising Star, Texas on my way to San Antonio last week, I glanced over at a building I have seen hundreds of times in my lifetime, and suddenly, I saw it with new eyes. My sister was driving when I exclaimed, “Can you turn around and go back? I think the City Market is a New Deal building.” She knows about my current research with the Living New Deal project from the University of California–Berkeley.
Notice the rock star above the window? Me neither, until I began doing the research on the building. How cool is that, though?
The city market was constructed of native stone, and WPA funded $8,089 towards the $18,000 cost. The city contributed $2,791, and 76 workers were used in the project. Measuring 80 x 120 feet, with a concrete floor, metal roof, and 18 feet walls, the purpose was
..furnish space for the fair every fall, storage space for peanuts, and a public market for farmers’ produce in the summer. (WPA market building at Rising Star Ok’d, Abilene Reporter News, September 8, 1940, p. 39)
The market formally opened April 17, 1941 and the 36th division Army band from Camp Bowie played at the opening ceremonies. The building remains in use for local events.