2022 Winters History Mural

The 2022 Winters History Mural at the Winters Post Office

The "Before" and "After" Photos



Alligator at the Post Office Explained

Section of the 2022 Winters History Mural

Bill Gray Photo by Jamie Chomas

 Bill Gray, beloved ex-postmaster, shared the story of the alligator that lives at the Winters Post Office in Winters Friends of the Library's Winters Tales.

"Probably about 1966, Joyce Martino had married Wally Neely. They went to Florida, I think. He was a Lt. Comdr. In the Navy, and her little brother, Joseph Martino, started coming in and he'd say, 'Hey, did my alligator come in yet?' 'What alligator?' 'I'm getting an alligator through the mail!' Well he came in for about two weeks. He was about ten years old. One day we got this long cardboard box, with all these holes punched in it. This was before they were endangered and you could buy them and sell them. And we could hear all this flawing and scratching and gnawing in there. So here came Joseph after school. 'Did my alligator come?' 'Right here, Joseph!' And he said, 'Give me something to cut it open with!' We got a knife and cut it and all of a sudden this long beak came out, snapping, and this big yellow eye. This thing was trying to claw its way out. We shoved it back down in there, taped it over, and he took it home."

"When I was in high school, I was going somewhere with my folks in the car, and they turned on Jack Benny. And Jack Benny and Rochester went down into the basement and the basement was full of water and full of alligators. And they were yelling and Rochester was hollering that the alligators were getting him. And it stuck in my brain. So when this alligator came through the mail, we started telling everybody that there was an alligator in the basement of the Post Office. We'd have little kids come through on tours from the school and when they were up in the front, one of us would go down in the basement and go 'Rowr! Rowr!' Also, in the sidewalk there's a metal grate and you can look down in the basement, and on hot afternoons we'd hear little kids laughing and giggling, and we'd look out there, and these little kids going to the swimming pool would be laying on that hot sidewalk in their swimsuits, shading their eyes, looking down there trying to see the alligator."

"I'd tell a little kid that when the alligator made me mad, I'd grab him by the tail and pull him out of his tub and let him run on the cement, but his little claws would slip, so he'd run but he couldn't get anywhere. 'What are you going to do with him?' I said when I retired I was going to shoot him and make him into a sports coat. So then when we moved to the new Post Office, we told them that they couldn't see him any more, like people used to see him, because he would thrash his tail and throw all the water out and snap, and we said he's too big. 'Well how long is he?' Oh, we said he's probably four foot long, not counting the tail. He might measure six or eight feet. We perpetuated that forever. You still go in there and you see pictures of the alligator in the Post Office. The little school kids draw pictures of the alligator. Little kids to this day still think there's an alligator."

[Bill Gray was interviewed by Pat O'Connor-Marer in September, 2000, for Winters Friends of the Library's Winters Tales--Stories, poems, and recollections about life in Winters, California which was edited by Diane Cary, includes photographs by Jamie Chomas, and was published in 2002.]

Sad News

Kate Humphrey

On behalf of the Board of the Winters Participation Gallery, it is my sad job to give you the news of Kate Humphrey's death on Tuesday, September 12. Kate was a leading player in the creation and implementation of the Winters Historical Mural Project. Years before the actuation of the murals themselves, she and I brainstormed how it might come to fruition. Without her, it would not have even been considered. She was a true pioneer and vibrant spirit that generated this whole thing into being. I shall miss her greatly, as I know you all will.

With great sorrow,

Valerie Whitworth

[Photo by Debbie Hemenway]

2022 Mural Photos

Creating the Post Office Mural!

Mural Artists at Work!

Post Office Wall - Starting point for Mural 2022

The Wall has been power washed and primed.

Mural Design Diagrams

Design Diagram #1

Design Diagram #2

Mural Design Field Trip

Kate Humphrey and the design crew went to the Winters Post Office on Wednesday. 

The field trip was both informative and fun.   The team had a personal tour from Cel Galabasa, postman extraordinaire, and Aimee Lassalle, Winters Postmaster. They learned about the alligator that lives in the Post Office basement! Members of the design team took photos of items they found interesting.

The Story

The Story Behind The Winters Historical Mural Project

Since its founding in 2002, the Winters Participation Gallery (WPG), an arts nonprofit, has focused its support on emerging artists in the Winters area. What began as a brick and mortar organization, evolved into a “gallery without walls” when the Board decided to concentrate on murals created by students. Over the last five years, several Senior Capstone murals have been sponsored by WPG, and for the fourth summer, WPG is conducting a summer class titled “The Winters Historical Mural Project.” 

During the summer of 2018, the stunning mural on the east side of Lorenzo's Town and Country Market was created under the direction of professional muralist, Jaime Montiel. In 2019, Kate Humphrey, Winters High School art teacher coordinated the design phase of the project, and Jaime Montiel along with Cel Galabasa oversaw the implementation stage on the east and north walls of Winters Laundryworks. That mural depicts laundry through the ages and focuses on the diverse cultures that have been a part of Winters history. 

For 2020, following the safety protocols of the CDC due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Winters Participation Gallery, and eighteen students painted the east wall of the John Rogers building which currently houses the Winters History Museum.  That mural depicts the many uses the John Rogers building has served over the years, including the offices for the Army Corps of Engineers who were in charge of building Monticello Dam for the Bureau of Reclamation.   The building also served as the Winters judicial chambers and courthouse, the branch of the Yolo County Library, the offices for the Winters Express, a barbershop, and the offices and visitors center for the Winters Chamber of Commerce. The mural also documents the Japanese families leaving Winters for the internment camps during World War II and the Black Lives Matter rally at Rotary Park, incorporating aspects of past and present social justice issues.

The impressive mural at the Corner of Railroad and Grant on the east wall of the Winters Market is the product of the 2021 Winters Historical Mural Project.  Kate Humphrey once again guided students in the design phase and Jaime Montiel and Cel Galabasa coordinated the student-painters during the implementation phase.  Many aspects of Winters history are celebrated on this most-recent mural, including three businesses that occupied the corner in the mid-20th century.  One of those businesses is still operating!  

Thank You!

The members of the Board of Winters Participation Gallery thank you for your contribution to our Big Day of Giving fundraising drive.  WPG relies on your Big DOG donation to support the annual Historical Mural Project that takes place each summer. 

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With your help, students in grades 6 - 12 will design and paint our sixth mural on the Post Office Building in June and July.  They will learn about Winters' history and incorporate that into the design, which, with the direction of professional muralists, they will transfer into a vibrant work of art. 

It is through generous contributions like yours that we are able to provide this unique opportunity for the youth of Winters.  We appreciate your support in helping us make Winters more beautiful one wall at a time!  

Thank you, 

Valerie Whitworth

Nancy Button Young

Irene Tweedt

Liz Coman

Kate Humphrey

Jaime Montiel

Cel Galabasa