Like the Municipal Power Plant, the Pleasant Hill Post Office on what is now Veterans Parkway is an artifact of the struggle to rebuild Pleasant Hill in the midst of the Great Depression. Alongside the Public Works Administration, which helped fund the Power Plant, the Roosevelt Administration established the Works Progress Administration, which employed millions of Americans in an effort to build or rebuild public infrastructure across the country, keeping people working and strengthening communities that had been affected by the Depression. One of the major programs undertaken by the WPA was the construction of new post offices, and Pleasant Hill was one of many towns to receive such an office.
Located just to the east of what would later become the Historic District, the Pleasant Hill Post Office was completed in 1938, in a style known as Colonial Revival. Quaint red-brick construction, accented with white stone framing around the doors and windows, with faux columns and period lighting fixtures illuminating the exterior. This style was chosen as a quintessentially American architectural school, reminiscent of the colonial era buildings that peppered the eastern coast, now brought to the Midwest. The building has been modified very little in the 95 years since the office’s initial construction, but the truly defining accent of the building is housed within.
All WPA post offices also hired artists during the construction process, tasked with painting murals depicting quintessentially American vistas and scenes, many of which directly tied in with local history. The mural in the Pleasant Hill Post Office, titled “Back Home: April 1865”, was painted by Tom Lea, and depicts a group of settlers returning home after the Civil War to find their pre-war lives in ruins. Much of this area was caught up in the border conflicts between Kansas and Missouri that took place before the war even began in earnest, so the mural was deeply resonant to many of the townspeople who had felt the impact of those battles in their family. The mural is preserved along with the rest of the Post Office, standing as an encapsulation of Depression-era remembrance of the past, and hope for the building of a better future.