1837 Chicago mayoral election
|Elections in Illinois|
The 1837 Chicago mayoral election was held on May 2, 1837. It was the inaugural Chicago mayoral election, taking place the same year as Chicago's incorporation as a city. Democratic candidate William B. Ogden defeated Whig incumbent Town President John H. Kinzie by a landslide 38.5 margin.
Shortly after the election Ogden was sworn in as Chicago's first mayor. This set the precedent of scheduling Chicago's mayoral inauguration for the month of May, a practice which has continued into the present.
Chicago had quickly been becoming a stronghold for the Whig Party. To overcome this trend, Democrats Francis Sherman, John Wentworth, and Peter Pruyne convinced William B. Ogden to run on their party's ticket.
Kinzie campaigned on a platform advocating the extension of Chicago's plank roads in to the countryside. Wentworth ran a more railroad-centric candidacy, believing that the railroads were the lifeline for the city's future.
Making use of his roots in the city, as the son of early settlers, Kinzie's supporters used the slogan "First born of Chicago" to promote him. Kinzie had the backing of old settlers, such as Gurdon Saltonstall Hubbard. Detractors of Ogden accused him of being a "transient speculator" whose only aim was to make money off of Chicago before returning to New York.
Kinzie, being popular figure, initially seemed to have an advantage in the election.
The polling places for each ward were:
- First: The "Eagle", No. 10 Dearborn Avenue
- Second: Lincoln Coffee House
- Third: Charles Taylor's House, Canal Street
- Fourth: Chicago Hotel, northeast corner of Canal and Lake Streets
- Fifth: Canal office, North Water Street
- Sixth: Franklin House, North Water Street
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