William Lafayette Strong

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William Lafayette Strong
William L. Strong.jpg
Born March 22, 1827
Richland County, Ohio
Died November 2, 1900(1900-11-02) (aged 73)
Resting place Woodlawn Cemetery
Title 90th Mayor of New York City (1895-1897)
Political party Republican

William Lafayette Strong (March 22, 1827 – November 2, 1900)[1] was the 90th Mayor of New York City from 1895 to 1897. He was the last mayor of New York City before the Consolidation of the City of Greater New York on January 1, 1898.

Early life[edit]

Strong was born near Loudonville, Ohio in Ashland County. He was the son of Abel Strong, born in 1792, a farmer born in 1792 in Hartford, Connecticut. Mother born in 1798 from Pennsylvania. Strong was the oldest of five children, with only a rural area education was forced to become a clerk at a dry goods store in Wooster, Ohio after the death of his father in 1840. Strong attended the Vermillion Institute in Hayesville, Ohio.

Early career[edit]

In 1853, William Lafayette Strong moved to New York City where he worked at L.O. Wilson and Company dry goods firm. In the Panic of 1857 the business failed and Strong moved on to work for Farnham, Dale, and Company. In 1866 Strong married Mary Aborn from New Jersey. They later had two children - Putnam Bradlee and Mary. In 1870 the company emerged as William L. Strong and Company. The company was a very successful opening branches in many cities. In 1890 Strong became president of the First National Bank. [2]

Strong was also president of the Central National Bank, president of the Homer Lee Bank Note Company, Vice President of the New York Security and Trust Company and director for the Erie Railroad and the Plaza Bank.[3]

Political career[edit]

In the 1880s Strong became active in politics. He ran for Congress in 1882 but was unsuccessful.[4]

Mayor of New York City[edit]

Strong, a Republican, was elected on a Fusion Party ticket by Republican and anti-Tammany Democrats. Strong served as Mayor of New York from 1895-1897. The reform-minded Strong established the Board of Education, created small parks, and is credited as the "father" of the Department of Correction. The Department of Public Charities and Correction had been abolished by Governor Levi Morton in 1894 to become separate departments. Strong appointed former U.S. Civil Service Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt as Police Commissioner. Roosevelt was noted for fighting corruption and making the police department more professional.

Strong's leadership help pass the School Reform Law in 1896.[5] In the 1800s legislators passes mandatory bath houses for the people of New York. Strong agreed with the necessary change due to sanitation issues due to overcrowding. The city's bath houses, originally used for bathing, were used for recreation.[6]


William Lafayette Strong died in his home on November 2, 1900. Strong, complaining of not feeling well the night before, retired to his room early. By the next morning he had worsened very fast. He died early that morning leaving behind a wife and two children.[7]

He is interred at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx.

He is an ancestor of Matthew A. Morgan, an upstate New York politician.

The Fire Department of New York operated a fireboat named William L. Strong from 1898 to 1945.[8]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Stuart, E. (1981). Biographical Dictionary of American Mayors In 1820-1980 Big City Mayors (p. 349). Wesport, Connecticut : Greenwood Press
  3. ^ New York Times, October 6, 1894. "Sketches of The Nominees"
  4. ^ Stuart, E. (1981). Biographical dictionary of american mayors In 1820-1980 Big City Mayors (p. 349). Wesport, Connecticut : Greenwood Press
  5. ^ The bowery boys . (2008, September 08). Retrieved from http://theboweryboys.blogspot.com/2008/09/democrats-and-republicans-in-this-years.html
  6. ^ Patterson , C. (2011, August 31). Taking the plunge . Retrieved from http://blog.nyhistory.org/taking-the-plunge/
  7. ^ Sudden death former man and ex-mayor of new york of william l strong . (1900, November 02). Mansfield News Journal
  8. ^ Clarence E. Meek (July 1954). "Fireboats Through The Years". Retrieved 2015-06-28. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Thomas Francis Gilroy
Mayor of New York City
Succeeded by
Robert Anderson Van Wyck