List of mayors of Washington, D.C.

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Former mayor Vincent Gray (right) was sworn-in on January 2, 2011 with his predecessor, Adrian Fenty (left).

The list of mayors of Washington, D.C. is a reflection of the changing structure of its local government. Washington, D.C. was formed with the passage of the amended residency Act of 1791 and the government at the time defined in the 1790 Residency Act. From 1791 to 1802 the District was managed by a three-member board of Commissioners. With the passage of the 1802 Organic Act, the District was divided into two counties, Alexandria County west of the Potomac and Washington County to the east. The counties were governed by levy courts made of providentially appointed Justices of the Peace, but the District's three cities, Georgetown, Washington City and Alexandria each had their own municipal government. Prior to 1812, the levy courts had a number of members defined by the President, but after that Washington County had 7 members. In 1846, Alexandria County returned to Virginia. In 1848, the Washington County levy court was expanded to 11 members and in 1863 it was reduced by two to nine members. With the District of Columbia Organic Act of 1871, the three municipalities within the District of Columbia were abolished in favor of a single District government, whose chief executive was a territorial Governor. This office was abolished in 1874, and replaced with a temporary three-member Board of Commissioners appointed by the President. The board was made permanent in 1878 and this system continued until 1967, when it was replaced by a single mayor-commissioner and city council appointed by the President. Finally, in 1974, the District of Columbia Home Rule Act allowed for District residents to elect their own mayor.

Currently, the Mayor of the District of Columbia is popularly elected to a four-year term with no term limits. Even though Washington, D.C. is not a state, the city government also has certain state-level responsibilities, making some of the mayor's duties analogous to those of United States governors. The current mayor of Washington, D.C. is Muriel Bowser, a Democrat, who has served in the role since January 2, 2015.

The lists on this page include all of the chief executives of the District of Columbia in their various forms.

1791-1802: Board of Commissioners of the Federal City

The 1790 Act for establishing the temporary and permanent seat of the Government of the United States, Act of March 3, 1791, 1 Stat. 214, set up a board of three commissioners to survey and define the territory of the Federal City, and to purchase land for development and oversee the construction of all federal buildings. Some reports name Thomas Johnson as the chairman of the Board of Commissioners, but it appears there was no chair, even if Johnson acted in the manner of a chair.

# Image Member Term Began Term Ended State
1 No image.svg David Stuart January 22, 1791 September 12, 1794 Virginia
2 Thomas Johnson (governor).jpeg Thomas Johnson January 22, 1791 August 23, 1794 Maryland
3 Daniel carroll.jpg Daniel Carroll March 4, 1791 May 21, 1795 Maryland
4 No image.svg Gustavus Scott August 23, 1794 December 25, 1800 Maryland
5 William-thorton.png William Thornton September 12, 1794 July 1, 1802 Pennsylvania
6 No image.svg Alexander White May 21, 1795 July 1, 1802 Virginia
7 William Cranch.jpg William Cranch January 14, 1801 March 3, 1801 Massachusetts
8 TristramDalton.jpg Tristram Dalton March 10, 1801 July 1, 1802 Massachusetts

[1]

1802–1871: Mayors of the City of Washington

The persons listed below are the mayors of the now-defunct City of Washington, which was officially granted a formal government in 1802. The Mayor of Washington had authority over city services, appointments, and local tax assessments; however, the duties of the mayor mostly consisted of requesting appropriations from Congress to finance the city. From 1802 to 1812, the mayor was appointed by the President of the United States. Between 1812 and 1820, the city's mayors were then selected by a city council. From 1820 to 1871 the mayor was popularly elected. The present-day boundaries of the "Old City" were Rock Creek to the west, Florida Avenue to the north, and the Anacostia River to the east and south.

Image Mayor[2] Term Began Term Ended
RobertBrent.jpg Robert Brent 1802 1812
No image.svg Daniel Rapine 1812 1813
JamesHeigheBlake.jpeg James H. Blake 1813 1817
Mayor orr.jpg Benjamin G. Orr 1817 1819
No image.svg Samuel N. Smallwood 1819 1822
No image.svg Thomas Carbery 1822 June 1824
No image.svg Samuel N. Smallwood June 1824 September 30, 1824
Gen. Weightman, C.S.A - NARA - 526634.jpg Roger C. Weightman September 30, 1824 1827
Joseph gales.jpg Joseph Gales 1827 1830
John Peter Van Ness (Gilbert Stuart).jpg John P. Van Ness 1830 1834
No image.svg William A. Bradley 1834 1836
Peter Force by Mathew Brady c1858.jpg Peter Force 1836 1840
William Winston Seaton - Brady-Handy.jpg William Winston Seaton 1840 1850
No image.svg Walter Lenox 1850 1852
JohnWMaury.jpg John W. Maury 1852 1854
JohnTTowers.jpg John T. Towers 1854 1856
William B. Magruder.png William B. Magruder 1856 1858
JamesGBerret.jpg James G. Berret 1858 September 14, 1861
Mayor Wallach of Washington D.C - NARA - 529273.jpg Richard Wallach September 14, 1861 1868
SaylesJBowen.jpg Sayles J. Bowen 1868 June 7, 1870
No image.svg Matthew G. Emery[3] June 7, 1870 February 28, 1871

1790–1871: Mayors of Georgetown

From 1751 to 1789, Georgetown was governed by Commissioners who were either appointed by an act of Maryland or were elected by the other commissioners to fill vacancies. in 1790 the government was changed to include a Mayor, a Recorder, Aldermen and a Common Council. During this time it was governed by nineteen different commissioners.[4]

Georgetown was a town in Maryland until 1801, when it became a municipality within the District of Columbia. From 1802 until 1871, mayors of Georgetown were elected to one-year terms, with no term limits.[5] Like the City of Washington and Washington County, Georgetown's local government ceased to exist in 1871, when Congress merged the three entities into the single District government.[6]

# Image Mayor[2] Term Began Term Ended
1 No image.svg Robert Peter 1790 1791
2 No image.svg Thomas Beale 1791 1792
3 Uriah Forrest.jpg Uriah Forrest 1792 1793
4 No image.svg John Threlkeld 1793 1794
5 No image.svg Pedro Casenave 1794 1795
6 No image.svg Thomas Turner 1795 1796
7 No image.svg Daniel Reintzel 1796 1797
8 No image.svg Lloyd Beall 1797 1799
9 No image.svg Daniel Reintzel 1799 1804
10 No image.svg Thomas Corcoran 1805 1806
11 No image.svg Daniel Reintzel 1806 1807
12 No image.svg Thomas Corcoran 1808 1810
13 No image.svg David Wiley 1811 1812
14 No image.svg Thomas Corcoran 1812 1813
15 No image.svg John Peter 1813 1818
16 No image.svg Henry Foxall 1819 1820
17 No image.svg John Peter 1821 1822
18 No image.svg John Cox 1823 1845
19 No image.svg Henry Addison 1845 1857
20 No image.svg Richard R. Crawford 1857 1861
21 No image.svg Henry Addison 1861 1867
22 No image.svg Charles D. Welch 1867 1869
23 No image.svg Henry M. Sweeney 1869 1871

1871–1874: Governors of the District of Columbia

In 1871, Congress created a territorial government for the entire District of Columbia, which was headed by a governor appointed by the President of the United States to a four-year term. Due to alleged mismanagement and corruption, including allegations of contractors bribing members of the District legislature to receive contracts,[7] the territorial government was discontinued in 1874.

# Image Governor[2] Term Began Term Ended Political Party
1 HD cookeHDc.jpg   Henry D. Cooke February 28, 1871 September 13, 1873 Republican
2 Alexander-Robey-Shepherd.jpg   Alexander R. Shepherd[8] September 13, 1873 June 20, 1874 Republican

1874–1878: Commissioners of the District of Columbia

From 1874 to 1878 the District was administered by a three-member, temporary Board of Commissioners with both legislative and executive authority, all appointed by the President. They were assisted by an engineer (Captain Richard L. Hoxie). The law made no provision for a President to this board of temporary Commissioners, and none was ever elected, but Commissioner Dennison acted in that capacity at all board meetings he attended.

# Image Member Term Began Term Ended Political Party
1 William Dennison, Jr.jpg   William Dennison July 1, 1874 July 1, 1878 Republican
2 HTBlow.jpg   Henry T. Blow July 1, 1874 December 31, 1874 Republican
3 John Henry Ketcham.jpg   John H. Ketcham July 3, 1874 June 30, 1877 Republican
4 Seth L. Phelps.jpg   Seth Ledyard Phelps January 18, 1875 June 30, 1878 Republican
5 No image.svg   Thomas Barbour Bryan December 3, 1877 July 1, 1878 Republican

[9]

1878–1967: Presidents of the Board of Commissioners

In 1878, the Board of Commissioners was made permanent and re-organized. From 1878 to 1967, the District was administered by this new three-member Board of Commissioners with both legislative and executive authority, all appointed by the President. The board comprised one Democrat, one Republican, and one civil engineer with no specified party. The three Commissioners would then elect one of their number to serve as president of the board. While not quite analogous to the role of a mayor, the president of the board was the city's Chief Executive.

# Image President[10] Term Began Term Ended Political Party
1 Seth L. Phelps.jpg   Seth Ledyard Phelps July 1, 1878 November 29, 1879 Republican
2 No image.svg   Josiah Dent November 29, 1879 July 17, 1882 Democratic
3 Joseph R. West - cwpbh 03614.jpg   Joseph Rodman West July 17, 1882 March 29, 1883 Republican
4 No image.svg   James Barker Edmonds March 29, 1883 January 1, 1886 Democratic
5 No image.svg   William Benning Webb January 1, 1886 May 21, 1889 Independent
6 No image.svg   John Watkinson Douglass May 21, 1889 March 1, 1893 Independent
7 John Wesley Ross.jpg   John Wesley Ross March 1, 1893 June 1, 1898 Democratic
8 No image.svg   John Brewer Wright June 1, 1898 May 9, 1900 Independent
9 Henry Brown Floyd MacFarland.png   Henry Brown Floyd MacFarland May 9, 1900 January 24, 1910 Republican
10 No image.svg   Cuno Hugo Rudolph January 24, 1910 February 28, 1913 Independent
11 No image.svg   Oliver Peck Newman February 28, 1913 October 9, 1917 Independent
12 Louis Brownlow 1938.png   Louis Brownlow October 9, 1917 September 17, 1920 Democratic
13 No image.svg   Colonel Charles Willauer Kutz
(acting)
September 17, 1920 September 25, 1920 Independent
14 No image.svg   John Thilman Hendrick September 25, 1920 March 4, 1921 Independent
15 No image.svg   Cuno Hugo Rudolph March 15, 1921 December 4, 1926 Independent
16 No image.svg   Proctor L. Dougherty December 4, 1926 April 10, 1930 Independent
17 No image.svg   Dr. Luther Halsey Reichelderfer April 10, 1930 November 16, 1933 Independent
18 No image.svg   Melvin Colvin Hazen November 16, 1933 July 15, 1941 Independent
19 No image.svg   John Russell Young July 29, 1941 June 2, 1952 Independent
20 No image.svg   F. Joseph Donohue June 2, 1952 April 6, 1953 Independent
21 No image.svg   Samuel Spencer April 6, 1953 April 6, 1956 Independent
22 No image.svg   Robert E. McLaughlin April 6, 1956 July 27, 1961 Independent
23 No image.svg   Walter Nathan Tobriner July 27, 1961 November 7, 1967 Democratic

[11]

1967–1975: Mayor-Commissioner

In 1967, President Lyndon Johnson presented to Congress a plan to reorganize the District's government.[12] The three-commissioner system was replaced by a government headed by a single mayor-commissioner, an assistant mayor-commissioner, and a nine-member city council, all appointed by the president.[12] The mayor-commissioner and his assistant served four-year terms,[13] while the councilmembers served three-year terms.[12] While the Council was officially nonpartisan, no more than six of Councilmembers could be of the same political party.[13] Councilmembers were expected to work part-time.[12] All councilmembers and either the mayor-commissioner or his assistant was required to have been a resident of the District of Columbia for the three years preceding appointment.[13] All must be District residents while serving their terms in office.[13]

Council members had the quasi-legislative powers of the former Board of Commissioners, approving the budget and setting real estate tax rates.[12] The mayor-commissioner could, without any Congressional approval, consolidate District agencies and transfer money between agencies, powers that the preceding Board of Commissioners had not possessed since 1952.[14] The mayor-commissioner could veto the actions of the Council, but the Council could override the veto with a three-fourths vote.[12]

Despite a push by many Republicans and conservative Democrats in the House of Representatives to reject Johnson's plan, the House of Representatives accepted the new form of government for the District by a vote of 244 to 160.[15] Johnson said that the new District government would be more effective and efficient.[12]

Walter E. Washington was appointed the first mayor-commissioner, and Thomas W. Fletcher was appointed the first assistant mayor-commissioner.[16] The first Council appointments were Chairman John W. Hechinger, Vice Chairman Walter E. Fauntroy, Stanley J. Anderson, Margaret A. Haywood, John A. Nevius, William S. Thompson, J.C. Turner, Polly Shackleton, and Joseph P. Yeldell.[16]

# Mayor-Commissioner [2] Term start Term end Party
1 Walterwashington.jpg Walter Washington November 7, 1967 January 2, 1975 Democratic

1975–present: Mayors of the District of Columbia

Since 1975, the District has been administered by a popularly elected mayor and city council.

Parties

  Democratic (8)

# Mayor Term of office Party Term Previous office
1
Walterwashington.jpg
Walter Washington
(1915–2003)
January 2, 1975

January 2, 1979
Democratic 1
(1974)
Mayor-Commissioner of the District of Columbia
2
Marion Barry, 1996 in Washington, D.C (cropped).jpg
Marion Barry
(1936–2014)
January 2, 1979

January 2, 1991
Democratic 2
(1978)
Member of the Council of the District of Columbia
from the At-large district
(1975–1979)
3
(1982)
4
(1986)
3
Sharon Pratt Kelly.jpg
Sharon Pratt Kelly[17]
(born 1944)
January 2, 1991

January 2, 1995
Democratic 5
(1990)
Treasurer of the Democratic National Committee
(1985–1989)
4
Marion Barry, 1996 in Washington, D.C (cropped).jpg
Marion Barry
(1936–2014)
January 2, 1995

January 2, 1999
Democratic 6
(1994)
Member of the Council of the District of Columbia
from Ward 8
(1993–1995)
5
Mayor Williams Anthony.jpg
Anthony A. Williams
(born 1951)
January 2, 1999

January 2, 2007
Democratic 7
(1998)
D.C. Chief Financial Officer
(1995–1998)
8
(2002)
6
Adrian Fenty, 2006.jpg
Adrian Fenty
(born 1970)
January 2, 2007

January 2, 2011
Democratic 9
(2006)
Member of the Council of the District of Columbia
from Ward 4
(2001–2007)
7
Vincentgray.jpg
Vincent C. Gray
(born 1942)
January 2, 2011

January 2, 2015
Democratic 10
(2010)
Chairman of the Council of the District of Columbia
(2007–2011)
8
Muriel Bowser dc.gov photo.jpg
Muriel Bowser
(born 1972)
January 2, 2015

Incumbent
Democratic 11
(2014)
Member of the Council of the District of Columbia
from Ward 4
(2007–2015)

See also

References

  1. ^ "Origin and Government of the District of Columbia". Retrieved 2 February 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d Larner, John B. (1920). "List of Principal Municipal Authorities of the Cities of Washington, Georgetown, and the District of Columbia". Records of the Columbia Historical Society. 23: 180–7. 
  3. ^ "Washington Election Yesterday". Baltimore American and Commercial Advertiser. via Google News. June 7, 1870. 
  4. ^ Tindall, William (1922). "The Executives and Voters of Georgetown, District of Columbia". Records of the Columbia Historical Society, Washington, D.C. 24: 89–117. Retrieved 13 June 2017. 
  5. ^ Ecker, Grace Dunlop (1933). A Portrait of Old Georgetown. Garrett & Massie. p. 8. 
  6. ^ "New Government in Columbia". The New York Times. January 21, 1871. 
  7. ^ "Bribes Paid by Contractors". The New York Times. March 29, 1974. 
  8. ^ "The District of Columbia Governorship". The New York Times. September 13, 1873. 
  9. ^ "Origin and Government of the District of Columbia". Retrieved 2 February 2017. 
  10. ^ Gilmore, Matthew (July 2001). "Who were the Commissioners of the District, 1874–1967?". H-DC. Humanities & Social Sciences Online. Retrieved 30 November 2011. 
  11. ^ "DCPL: MLK: Washingtoniana Division: FAQs: DC Commissioners". Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved 6 October 2015. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g Carper, Elsie (June 2, 1967). "Johnson Orders New D.C. Rule: Hill Has 60 Days To Act on Plan, But Can't Alter It". The Washington Post. p. A1. 
  13. ^ a b c d "How the District Will Be Run Under Single Head, Council". The Washington Post. August 10, 1967. p. A1. 
  14. ^ Kaiser, Robert G. (June 2, 1967). "Reorganization Plan Redistributes Current Powers". The Washington Post. p. A7. 
  15. ^ Carper, Elsie; Milius, Peter (August 10, 1967). "House Accepts New D.C. Rule". The Washington Post. p. A1. 
  16. ^ a b Asher, Robert L. (November 2, 1967). "Senate Confirms Council: White House Oath Taking Likely for 9". The Washington Post. p. A1. 
  17. ^ Elected as "Sharon Pratt Dixon," but remarried in December 1991.

External links

  • Official website
  • Mayor of Washington, D.C. at the Wayback Machine (archived March 31, 2001)
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