Charlie Smithgall

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Charlie Smithgall
Mayor of Lancaster, Pennsylvania
In office
January 1998 – January 3, 2006
Preceded by Janice Stork
Succeeded by Rick Gray
Personal details
Born September 20, 1945
Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Debbie Smithgall
Residence Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Alma mater Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science
Profession Pharmacist and politician

Charles W. "Charlie" Smithgall (born September 20, 1945) is an American politician, pharmacist and businessman. Smithgall served as the Mayor of Lancaster, Pennsylvania for two-terms from January 1998 until January 3, 2006. Smithgall, a Republican, lost his re-election bid for a third term to Democrat Rick Gray in 2005.[1]

In 2009, Smithgall, who was not a candidate for mayor at the time, received 227 write-in votes by in the mayoral primary election by supporters of the former mayor.[1] After consideration following his write-in primary victory, Smithgall announced his intention to accept the Republican write-in nomination and seek a third term as Mayor on June 26, 2009.[2]

Smithgall lost a bid for a third term in the 2009 mayoral election and the 2013 mayoral election.

Personal life[edit]

Smithgall, who was born in Lancaster, graduated from J. P. McCaskey High School in 1963.[3] He received a Bachelor of Science degree in pharmacy from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science, which is now known as the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, in 1968.[3]

Smithgall is the current owner of Smithgalls' Pharmacy, a family business founded in 1916.[3] The Smithgall family operated a second pharmacy in Lancaster on Columbia Avenue until the store's closure in 2008.[3]

Smithgall married his wife, Debbie Smithgall, in 1972.[3] The couple have one daughter, Allison, who was born in 1979.[3]

An enthusiast of the American Civil War, Smithgall has been a Civil War re-enactor since 1961. He has worked as a consultant for several documentaries and films on the Civil War, including the 1993 movie, Gettysburg, in which he also appeared on screen as an artillery commander,[3] and the former History Channel series, Civil War Journal. Smithgall collects antique cannons, and owns approximately 40 cannons as of 2009. During an on-air interview after the Independence Day Celebration in Lancaster's Long's Park on July 1, 2012, Smithgall stated that he has over seventy cannons in his collection including the very first cannon purchased by the United States government.[3]

Political career[edit]

Prior to becoming mayor of Lancaster, Smithgall was a member of the Northwest Neighborhood Association, which opposed a proposed trolley linking downtown Lancaster with the Park City Center.[3] He also served as a member of the Republican Committee of Lancaster County.[3]

Charlie Smithgall was elected Mayor of Lancaster in 1997 after his predecessor, two-term Democrat Janice Stork, declined to run for a third term. He defeated the Democratic candidate, Jon Lyons, by 52 to 36 percent of the total vote. Smithgall was sworn into office in January 1998. [3]


  1. ^ a b Murse, Tom (2009-05-21). "Smithgall 'probably' running for mayor again". Lancaster New Era. Archived from the original on 2009-06-05. Retrieved 2009-10-31.
  2. ^ Harris, Bernard (2009-06-26). "It's official: Smithgall running for mayor again". Lancaster New Era. Archived from the original on 2009-06-29. Retrieved 2009-10-31.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Hart-Nibbrig, Christaan (2009-06-03). "Convention Center Series: 1998 Part I: Cannonball Charlie Smithgall". Archived from the original on 2009-06-08. Retrieved 2009-11-01.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Janice Stork
Mayor of Lancaster, Pennsylvania
January 1998–January 3, 2006
Succeeded by
Rick Gray