Walter S. Gurnee
|Walter S. Gurnee|
|14th Mayor of Chicago|
|Preceded by||James Curtiss|
|Succeeded by||Charles McNeill Gray|
March 9, 1813|
Haverstraw, New York, U.S.
|Died||April 18, 1903
New York State, USA
Walter S. Gurnee (March 9, 1813 – April 18, 1903; buried in Sleepy Hollow, New York) served as Mayor of Chicago (1851-3) for the Democratic Party. The town of Gurnee, Illinois is named for him.
Gurnee was born in Haverstraw, New York and arrived in Chicago after spending time in Michigan. Once in Chicago, he established a tannery, which, by 1844, employed between thirty and fifty men. Prior to becoming the mayor of Chicago, Gurnee was the primary partner of Gurnee & Matteson, a sadlery and leather firm. Gurnee did well enough in this business, and in his tannery, that he amassed a large fortune before moving to New York City.
Gurnee campaigned for the mayoralty on the issue of public ownership of the city's water supply. Once in office, he fought against the merger of the Illinois Central and Michigan Central railroads, originally planned to meet up south of the city. Elected to two terms in 1851 and 1852, Gurnee ran for a third term in 1860 and lost to "Long John" Wentworth, who had previously served a term as mayor as a Democrat, but had switched to the Republican Party.
- Pierce, Bessie Louise (2007). A History of Chicago: The Beginning of a City, 1673-1848. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 177.
- Pierce, Bessie Louise (2007). A History of Chicago: The Beginning of a City, 1673-1848. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 141.
- Gale, Edwin O. (1902). Reminiscences of Early Chicago and Vicinity. Chicago: Revell. p. 385.
- Fehrenbacher, Don E. (1957). Chicago Giant: A Biography of "Long John" Wentworth. Madison, WI: The American History Research Center. p. 110.
- Village of Gurnee, IL history page
- 1st Inaugural speech at Chicago Public Library
- 2nd Inaugural speech at Chicago Public Library
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