Walter S. Gurnee
|Walter Smith Gurnee|
|14th Mayor of Chicago|
|Preceded by||James Curtiss|
|Succeeded by||Charles McNeill Gray|
March 9, 1813|
Haverstraw, New York, U.S.
April 17, 1903 (aged 90)|
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Resting place||Sleepy Hollow, New York, U.S.|
Gurnee was born in Haverstraw, New York and arrived in Chicago in 1836 after spending time in Michigan. Once in Chicago, he established a tannery, which, by 1844, employed between thirty and fifty men. He was a founding member of the Chicago Board of Trade. 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.
- Death record from the City of New York, Department of Health, 125 Worth Street, Manhattan; certificate number 12138
- 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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