Tuesday, January 25, 2011

We Need A Mayor's Association

If you watch the State of the Union tonight, you will notice one thing different this year. For the first time, the seats will not be aligned with all Democrats on the left and all Republicans on the right. I'm an independent so I applaud the move, but I think the main message from tonight is great: Everyone must work together.

In a town of rivalries, I sure hope this message hits home. Here in Evansville we have Democrat vs Republican, East vs West, Reitz vs Mater Dei, Build Downtown vs Don't Build Downtown, USI vs UE, etc,etc. It reminds me of that Dr. Seuss cartoon of butter side up vs butter side down.

Don't get me wrong, rivalries are good. I enjoy them myself. It's the main reason why I am interested in both sports and politics. However, there also needs to be a time when the city comes together in a bipartisan fashion to complete city projects. There currently is a pall over Evansville and if we don't work together a house divided will never win.

With that being said, there is no better group to lead by example than the current and past Mayors of Evansville. While you may agree or disagree with some of their policies, you must admit that they have had a tremendous impact on the city of Evansville. The fact that most of them have had great political battles over time just proves that this bipartisan association has an amazing opportunity to bring Evansville together.

With a Mayor's Association, all of the past Mayors, along with the current Mayor, get together once a month or more and pick the projects they want to work together on. This association should not take on partisan projects or projects that are biased. Rather, this should be an opportunity to bring Evansville together with projects like working at a food bank, cleaning up the streets, and promoting the city.

The colors of the Mayor's Association shall be purple ( a mixture of Democratic Blue and Republican Red) with red, blue , and gold being secondary. The mission of the association shall be simple: Advance the city of Evansville.

Also, I believe the association, along with the help of the residents of Evansville, shall work together to build a statue of each and every single Mayor of Evansville. Once more, whether you agree with them or disagree, they have impacted the lives of Evansvillians and we need to recognize that. Further more, a statue of each Mayor would inspire residents and tourists to travel to each statue to see the history of each Mayor.

I firmly believe that these statues shall be spread all across Evansville with each statue being next to a project that that Mayor helped build.

Since most of you probably don't know all of the Mayor's of Evansville, let's first take a look at the timeline...


Mayors of Evansville, Indiana

•Mayors were appointed for a 3-year term by the Evansville City Council until 1870.

•The new city charters of March 3, 1893 & March 11, 1895 made the Mayor
responsible for the administration of city affairs and to appoint the heads of
different departments.

•City elections were held in the Spring until the early 1900's



1847 - 1853
James G. Jones
Appointed Mayor by the City Council

1853 - 1856
John S. Hopkins
Appointed Mayor by the City Council

1856 - 1859
John Hewson
Appointed Mayor by the City Council

1859 - 1868
William Baker
Appointed Mayor by the City Council

1868 - 1870
William Hall Walker
Appointed Mayor by the City Council. Died in Office, September 9, 1870

1870 - 1870
Eccles G. Van Riper
Appointed Mayor by the City Council.

1870 - 1872
William Baker
Elected Mayor by Special Election. Died in Office, May 23, 1872

1872 - 1874
Charles H. Butterfield

1874 - 1880
John Jay Kleiner
Elected to the 48th and 49th Congresses (March 4, 1883 - March 3,1887)

1880 - 1886
Thomas C. Bridwell

1886 - 1889
John H. Dannettell
First German-Speaking Republican Mayor

1889 - 1892
Nicholas Miner Goodlett

1892 - 1897
Anthony C. Hawkins

1897 - 1901
William M. Akin Jr.

1901 - 1906
Charles G. Covert

1906 - 1909
John William Boehne, Sr.
Resigned March 1, 1909 - Elected to the 61st and 62nd Congresses (March 4, 1909-March 3, 1913)

1909 - 1910
John J. Nolan
First Roman Catholic Mayor

1910 - 1914
Charles F. Heilman

1914 - 1922
Benjamin Bosse
Died in Office, April 1922

1922 - 1926
William H. Elmendorf

1926 - 1930
Herbert Males

1930 - 1935
Frank W. Griese

1935 - 1943
William H. Dress

1943 - 1948
Manson Reichert

1948 - 1949
William H. Dress
Died in Office, November 10, 1949

1949 - 1952
Edwin F. Diekmann

1952 - 1956
Henry O. Roberts

1956 - 1958
Rupert Vance Hartke
Resigned 1958. Elected to the U.S. Senate 1959 - 1977

1958 - 1960
J. William Davidson

1960 - 1972
Frank F. McDonald

1972 - 1980
Russell G. Lloyd, Sr.
Only Republican Mayor Elected Twice. Died from gunshot wound, March 21, 1980

1980 - 1987
Michael Vandeveer
Resigned May 1987

1987 - 2000
Frank F. McDonald, II

2000 - 2004
Russell G. Lloyd, Jr.

2004 - 2008
Jonathan Weinzapfel

I'll admit that I'm still unsure where we would put some of these statues, but I'm going to take a stab at some of them here...

James Jones- Old Courthouse
William Conrad Baker- Soldiers & Sailors Coliseum
Eccles G. Van Riper- Pigeon Creek, possibly next to the Canoe Launch
Charles G. Covert- Covert Ave, ideally down by Washington Ave
Benjamin Bosse- Bosse Field
Herbert Males- Stringtown Hill
William H. Dress- Riverfront or Airport
Henry O. Roberts- Roberts Stadium
Rupert Vance Hartke- Hartke Pool
Frank F. McDonald- Current Civic Center
Russell G. Lloyd, Sr.- State Hospital Park facing Lloyd Expressway or in a future downtown park at Main Street and the Lloyd Expressway
Frank F. McDonald, II- Willard Library facing Berry Plastics where he started the first recycling program
Russell G. Lloyd, Jr.- Pigeon Creek Trailhead facing Mulzer Stone where hopefully a new ballpark will one day be built
Jonathan Weinzapfel- New Arena

The 33 men who have served as Mayor of Evansville have served us well. In my opinion, it's about time we recognized their service with statues around our city. It's also about time our current living Mayors came together in a bipartisan way to work together to improve Evansville!

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