From the archives: 7 bizarre Omaha mayor stories - Omaha.com
Published Monday, May 13, 2013 at 12:30 am / Updated at 7:10 am
From the archives: 7 bizarre Omaha mayor stories

Omaha's mayoral election is only days away, so we dove into the archives to come up with a history lesson in Omaha mayoral politics. What follows is a list of seven bizarre anecdotes, one that includes public drunkenness, Irishmen, weight-loss tips and more.

Jesse Lowe / COURTESY OF THE DOUGLAS COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY

* Jesse Lowe, a North Carolina native, was elected Omaha's first mayor in 1857. According to accounts published in The World-Herald, Lowe, who first arrived in Council Bluffs, stood one day on the Iowa side of the Missouri River and thought the other side would be a good place to build a city.

* Omaha's ninth mayor, Charles Brown, assumed the office in March 1867. As a Douglas County attorney in the early 1860s, he led the prosecution against Cyrus Tator, the first man legally executed in Nebraska. Tator was hanged, according to World-Herald archives.

* Champion S. Chase served three separate stints as mayor, but was unanimously impeached by the City Council in 1884 for, according to the Douglas County Historical Society, "drunkenness, incompetence by reason of drunkenness, derangement of the nervous system and neglect of duty."

* James E. Boyd, mayor from 1881-1883 and 1885-1887, was the first Democrat elected governor of Nebraska in 1891. According to World-Herald archives, the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled Boyd, who immigrated from Ireland at 10, was not eligible to serve as governor, given his Irish citizenship; Boyd's father did not take the oath of citizenship until James was 56. The U.S. Supreme Court overruled the state high court's ruling.

* Richard C. Cushing, elected mayor in December 1889, was nominated by the Democratic Party without his knowledge, according to "Omaha memories," a book by Edward Francis Morearty. Douglas County Historical Society archives say Cushing, a member of the state Legislature, was out of town during the election and updated by telegram.

James C. Dahlman / WORLD-HERALD

* Elected to seven terms as mayor, James C. Dahlman (1906-1918, 1921-1930) sent President William Howard Taft a letter prior to his visit to Omaha in September 1909, according to the Nebraska State Historical Society, in which he promised to disclose weight-loss strategies with the president, then over 300 pounds, if Taft offer weight-gaining strategies in return. The letter was shared with the Omaha Daily News.

* James Dworak (1961-1965), Johnny Rosenblatt's successor, was indicted by a grand jury on bribery charges along with four others. The World-Herald reported on a taped conversation in which Dworak asks for $25,000 in campaign cash in exchange for approval of a rezoning application, according to archival reports. Dworak was acquitted, but lost his 1965 re-election bid.

Sources: Omaha World-Herald archives, Douglas County Historical Society, Nebraska State Historical Society

SEE ALSO: The World-Herald's mayoral election guide

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