Mural part of family history

TICONDEROGA Have you ever noticed the wall mural in the Ticonderoga post office and wondered how it got there? Carol McCormack knew all about it, but she had never seen it until a visit April 8. The mural, titled Exhortation of Ethan Allen, was painted in 1940 by McCormacks father, the late Frederick Massa. The mural was commissioned by the government during the Depression, explained Linda Osborne, Ti post master. Massa won his commission from one of the competitions sponsored by the Treasury Departments Section of Fine Arts, which commissioned 80 murals and sculptures for post offices in New York State between 1935 and 1943. Most still exist. Massa was born in the Bronx in 1909. When his parents both died of pneumonia on the same day in 1923, he moved in with his uncle and aunt in New Jersey. At age 16 he entered Yale University to study art. Like many in the Depression, he didnt graduate. In 1934 he married Madeline Berardo and got a job with the Works Progress Administration, a federal government agency designed to put Americans back to work. While with the WPA, Massa painted murals at the Brooklyn Public Library and the Ticonderoga post office. Massa eventually became a design engineer, living in New Jersey until his death in 1969. Osborne said the government program asked artists to paint scenes of local life or of historical significance. The Exhortation of Ethan Allen depicts Massas interpretation of Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys celebrating following their capture of Fort Ticonderoga in 1775 Americas first victory of the Revolutionary War. McCormack and her husband, John, live in Virginia. While vacationing last week they decided to stop in Ticonderoga to view her fathers mural. I think she was very pleased and touched, Osborne said of McCormack. It was a sentimental journey. It was a pleasure to met her.

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