City Council

Past Ann Arbor Mayors & History

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​​​​​​Ann Arbor's first village president was John Allen (1834).

Ann Arbor was incorporated as a city on April 4, 1851.

List of Past Mayors

John Allen

Ann Arbor was founded in 1824 by John Allen of Virginia and Elisha Rumsey of New York; that same year it became the seat of Washtenaw County. There are a number of variations on the story of how the original 640 acres of land, forested with burr oaks, came to be called Ann Arbor. Most stories involve the names of Allen's and Rumsey's wives. Allen's wife was Ann Isabella Barry McCue Allen. Rumsey's wife was Mary Ann Rumsey. Another variation involves a woman named Ann d'Arbeur who, long before Allen and Rumsey arrived, supposedly led people through the Huron River wilderness. University of Michigan professor emeritus Russell Bidlack has written a book about Ann Allen. He claims that she was the sole inspiration for the name. Apparently, John Allen couldn't decide between Allensville and Annapolis, but his wife preferred "Annarbour." 

 Although Ann Arbor lost the competition to become the state capital to the City of Lansing, it did win the University of Michigan. Since the opening of the U of M in 1841, Ann Arbor has emerged as the education capital of the Midwest. Ann Arbor is located approximately 40 miles southwest of Detroit and covers 28.6 square miles. The city has continued to experience major growth since it was founded. Ann Arbor began with a population of 50 and is now the largest city in Washtenaw County and the seventh largest in the State of Michigan.

For a more detailed look at the history of Ann Arbor, check out "The Making of Ann Arbor," a collaborative venture between the University of Michigan and the Ann Arbor District Library.

List of Past Mayors

MAYO​R and TERM

  • George Sedgwick 1851-53
  • Edwin R. Tremain 1853-55
  • James Kingsley 1855-56
  • William S. Maynard 1856-58, 1865-66
  • Philip Bach 1858-59
  • Robert J. Barry 1859-61
  • John F. Miller 1861-62
  • Charles Spoor 1862-63
  • Ebenezer Wells 1863-65
  • Oliver M. Martin 1866-68
  • Christian Eberbach 1868-69
  • A.H. Partridge 1869-70
  • William D. Harriman 1870-71, 1883-85
  • Silas H. Douglass 1871-73
  • Hiram J. Beakes 1873-75
  • Edward D. Kinne 1875-77
  • Densmore Cramer 1877-78
  • Willard B. Smith 1878-80, 1887-88
  • John Kapp 1880-83, 1885-86
  • John Robison 1886-87
  • Samuel W. Beakes 1888-90
  • Charles H. Manly 1890-91
  • William G. Doty 1891-93
  • Bradley M. Thompson 1893-94
  • Cyrenus G. Darling 1894-95

In March 1895, the term of office of mayor and president of Council was extended to two years.

  • Warren E. Walker 1895-97
  • Charles E. Hiscock 1897-99
  • Gottlob Luick 1899-1901
  • Royal S. Copeland 1901-03
  • Arthur Brown 1903-05
  • Francis M. Hamilton 1905-07
  • James C. Henderson 1907-09
  • William L. Walz 1909-13
  • Dr. R.G. MacKenzie 1913-15
  • Charles A. Sauer April-December, 1915*
  • *Died December 6, 1915
  • Ernst M. Wurster as Acting Mayor 1915-17
  • Ernst M. Wurster 1917-21
  • George E. Lewis 1921-25
  • Robert A. Campbell 1925-27, 1933-37
  • Edward W. Staebler 1927-31
  • H. Wirt Newkirk 1931-33
  • Walter C. Sadler 1937-41
  • Leigh J. Young 1941-45
  • William E. Brown Jr. 1945-57
  • Samuel J. Eldersveld 1957-59
  • Cecil O. Creal 1959-65
  • Wendell E. Hulcher 1965-69
  • Robert J. Harris 1969-73
  • James E. Stephenson 1973-75
  • Albert H. Wheeler 1975-78
  • Louis D. Belcher 1978-85
  • Edward C. Pierce 1985-87
  • Gerald D. Jernigan 1987-91
  • Elizabeth S. Brater 1991-93
  • Ingrid B. Sheldon 1993-2000
  • John Hieftje 2000-2014
  • Christopher Taylor 2014 - present

Approved by City voters in November 2016, and effective with the mayoral election of November 2018, the term of office of mayor will be extended to four years.

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​​​Ann Arbor City Council
Larcom City Hall
Third floor
City Council meets in the second floor Council chambers
301 E. Huron St. 

Assistant to the Mayor
Christine Schopieray
734.794.6161 
Fax: 734.994.8296
cschopieray@a2gov.org

Email all of Council​ 

LGBTQ Liaison to the Mayor’s Office
Travis Radina
989.247.4433