Ben Elbert Douglas, Sr.
Ben Elbert Douglas, Sr. (1894–1981) was the mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina from 1935 to 1941. Charlotte/Douglas International Airport was named after him in 1941. A Democrat, he was also the first mayor of Charlotte that was directly elected by voters, because of a change in the city charter.
In 1946 Ben Douglas founded Douglas Furs, after FDR asked a personal favor of Ben Sr. – to find a way to clean the fleece lined fur trimmed flight jackets for the soldiers flying in the then current war in Europe. He used his knowledge gained in the dry cleaning business (he owned one in Charlotte prior) and his ingenuity gained him a government contract and later a thriving business in the fur trade. Ben Douglas Sr. also was the relentless lobbyist for the now well-traveled Independence Boulevard. Mary Louise Douglas (his widow) continued to work at Douglas Furs 3 days a week until her death on December 29, 2007. The store is lined with historical text, newspaper articles of his election, and pictures of Ben and his accomplishments.
People of all walks of life came in and spoke to Mary Louise giving them a first hand tour guide through Douglas' history as well as Charlotte's.
Arthur E. Wearn
|Mayor of Charlotte, NC
E. McA. Currie
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