Hello everyone. The Vancouver Voyager has returned! When I left off back in February, I was telling you about the period of time between World War I and World War II - the 1920s. I had just finished relating facts about newspapers. Today, I am going to look at some of the people responsible for our civic leadership.
From 1918 to 1921, Vancouver's mayor was a railroad and real estate promoter and speculator, R.H. "Harry" Gale. Harry was fast talking, colourful and popular but he wasn't capable of dealing with the problems during this transitional period after the war.
Gale was replaced in for 1922 and 1923 by Charles E. Tisdall. Tisdall improved the efficiency of the office and maintained a sound, conservative financial position.
The next mayor, W.R. Owen had an uneventful term in 1924.
That brings us to Louis D. Taylor. Taylor was a dominating figure in local politics, serving as mayor from 1925 to 1935. L.D. was fortunate because when he took over, a great boom that was to last until the end of 1929 was in full swing and many of the financial problems his predecessors faced had solved themselves. The city was in need of this perennial optimist though.
Taylor had been mayor when the city was booming in 1909 and 1910 then again in 1915. He began his civic career as a licence commissioner in 1902 though was voted out of office in 1903. He was never an alderman - tried but wasn't elected. He had run unsuccessfully for mayor five times in addition to the three times he won. (That's persistence!)
Organized labour liked Taylor. His policies were liberal and progressive and he favoured organized labour.
Louis D. Taylor was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He came to Vancouver in 1894 and, at the end of 1924, he was 67 years old. He was a pleasant, gentle man who preferred to gain through negotiation instead of open conflict. However, he had a vast knowledge of the city and its people and there were many sources of "pressure" available to him that he didn't hesitate to use to get his way.
This earned him a reputation for deep and sometimes unscrupulous intrigue that sometimes worked to his disadvantage when his enemies charged him with dishonesty. But when he was in his final, poverty stricken, years, his foes - even the most determined ones - acquitted him of profiting personally from his eleven years as chief magistrate of the city.
Taylor was connected with the pioneer Vancouver, back before he even got here. His second wife was Mrs. Alice Berry, the widow of pioneer teamster and a hero of the Great Fire, Harry Berry. Alice was also the daughter of Jonathan Miller, an early pioneer.
Thanks to the book Vancouver, From Milltown to Metropolis by Alan Morley for the above information.
Wednesday, I will tell you about a few of the legends surrounding our colourful mayor, L. D. Taylor. Until then, I hope you find the beauty around you.