George Washington Aldridge II
|Collector of the Port of New York|
|President||Warren G. Harding|
|Preceded by||Byron R. Newton|
|Succeeded by||Henry C. Stuart|
|New York State Commissioner of Public Works|
January 2, 1895 – January 16, 1899
|Preceded by||Edward Hannan|
|Succeeded by||John Nelson Partridge|
|43rd Mayor of Rochester|
1894 – March 1895
|Preceded by||Richard J. Curran|
|Succeeded by||Merton E. Lewis|
|Born||December 28, 1856|
Michigan City, Indiana
|Died||June 13, 1922 (aged 65)|
Harrison, New York, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Mary Josephine MacNamara|
|Parents||George Washington Aldridge Sr.|
Aldridge was born on December 28, 1856 in Michigan City, Indiana. As an infant, his parents moved to Rochester, New York, where his father, George Washington Aldridge Sr. (1833–1877), later became the 38th Mayor of Rochester, serving from 1873 to 1874.
In 1883, he was elected to the Executive Board of Rochester and was reelected three times serving over eleven years. From 1894 until March 1895, he served as the Mayor of Rochester, New York where he earned a reputation as the formidable upbuilder of the city where "he made Rochester a real city, something of a model, with clean streets and able policemen and efficient fireman. That upbuilding of a town involved many matters of contract, many appointments, many a kind word spoken in a quarter where it would do someone good." While Merton E. Lewis succeeded Aldridge in an acting capacity, the candidate he picked as his successor, Hiram Edgerton, lost to Municipal Court Judge George E. Warner, a Democrat.
Superintendent of Public Works
In 1895, he was appointed the Superintendent of Public Works by Governor (and former Vice President of the United States) Levi P. Morton, serving until January 16, 1899. While in office, he sought the Republican nomination to succeed Morton for Governor but lost the nomination to U.S. Representative Frank S. Black, who was then elected Governor. As Commissioner, however, $9,000,000 "passed through his hands and it is of record that his incumbency was marked by gross mismanagement, incompetency and waste of money." Black's successor, then Governor Theodore Roosevelt, appointed a commission to investigate Aldridge, however, "no criminal charges resulted, but its findings were not complimentary." In 1902, Aldridge was appointed the Secretary of the State Railway Commission, by Governor Frank W. Higgins eventually becoming its Chairman, and holding office until 1907, when it was replaced by the Public Service Commission under Governor Charles Evans Hughes.
Aldridge again sought higher office in 1910 following the death of U.S. Representative James Breck Perkins, when he sought election to replace Perkins, but was ultimately defeated by the Democratic candidate, James S. Havens. In 1913, he became president of the American Cement Corporation, the largest of its kind out side of New York City.
Although he lost his bids to become a member of the U.S. Congress and to serve as New York State Governor, Aldridge was a well-known Republican party boss in Rochester and greater New York. During the Republican administration of Governor Charles Seymour Whitman, he was a member of Whitman's "Kitchen Cabinet" and was part of a triumvirate, known as the "Big Three" that once ruled the state with Thomas C. Platt (a U.S. Senator and U.S. Representative) and Francis Hendricks (a New York State Assemblyman, Senator and Mayor of Syracuse). The triumvirate later became the "Big Four" of Republican state politics with only Aldridge remaining alongside U.S. Representative William L. Ward, Fred Greiner (veteran of Erie County), and James Wolcott Wadsworth Jr. of Western New York. In 1888, he became a member of the New York Republican State Committee and soon thereafter was placed on the Executive Committee which he served on until his death. Aldridge was a delegate to the Republican National Conventions of 1896, 1900, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1916 and 1920 where he put forth the name of his friend, Warren G. Harding, who was later elected President.
He was appointed Collector of the Port of New York in 1921 by his friend President Warren G. Harding. In this role, "he had not become a particularly conspicuous figure." He remained in the role until his death the following year in 1922.
- George Washington Aldridge III (1890–1934), a 1917 Harvard graduate who served as the Commissioner of Jurors. He married Edith Brooks Hunt of Cambridge, Massachusetts.
He was a member of the Rochester Historical Society, the Empire State Society, the Sons of the American Revolution, and was a Mason, an Odd Fellow, an Elk, and a Knight of Pythias. He was also a member of the Rochester Club, the Genesee Valley Club, the Rochester Athletic Club, the Rochester Whist Club, the Oak Hill Country Club, the Country Club of Rochester, the Lotos Club, the Lawyers Club and Republicans Club of New York City. He was a member of the Board of Governors of the Society of the Genesee and served as president of the American Clay and Cement Corporation of Rochester, a director of the Lincoln National Bank, a member of the Rochester Municipal Art Commission and the Rochester Chamber of Commerce.
Aldridge died on June 6, 1922, while he was golfing with Charles D. Hilles (chairman of the Republican National Committee), Ralph A. Day (Prohibition Commissioner for New York State), and George Sweeny (president of the Hotel Commodore), at the Westchester Biltmore Country Club in Harrison, New York near Rye. After a service at the First Presbyterian Church, he was buried alongside his father at Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester.
- Peck, William Farley (1908). History of Rochester and Monroe County, New York: From the Earliest Historic Times to the Beginning of 1907. Pioneer Publishing Company. pp. 56, 343, 346, 349, 350. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
- "GEORGE W. ALDRIDGE DIES AS HE GOLFS AT WESTCHESTER CLUB; Collector of Port, 65, and Seemingly Hale, Stricken With Apoplexy. SINKS WITHOUT A WORD Charles D. Hilles and George Sweeny Near Rochester Leader as Death Comes. ENDS PICTURESQUE CAREER Last Survivor of Big Three, Including Platt and Hendricks--Bodyto Be Taken Home Today" (PDF). The New York Times. June 14, 1922. Retrieved February 23, 2018.
- ""BOSS" ALDRIDGE DEFEATED.; Overthrow of the Odious Republican Ring in Rochester" (PDF). The New York Times. November 7, 1895. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
- "Mr. Aldridge and the Civil Service" (PDF). The New York Times. June 1, 1895. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
- "Supt. George W. Aldridge Recovering" (PDF). The New York Times. September 21, 1895. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
- "Aldridge Confers With Roosevelt" (PDF). The New York Times. July 12, 1900. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
- "The Vindication of Aldridge" (PDF). The New York Times. November 24, 1900. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
- "RAILROAD BOARD'S CLERK.; George W. Aldridge, Commissioner of Public Works Under Gov. Black, Gets the Appointment" (PDF). The New York Times. November 26, 1902. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
- "NAMES ANTI-ODELL MEN FOR NEW STATE BOARD; Higgins Makes Sheffield, Roosevelt's Friend, Lighting Head. ALDRIDGE FOR RAILROADS Ex-Senator Persons President of Water Commission -- Davies and Shedden on the Lighting Board" (PDF). The New York Times. June 6, 1905. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
- "GOV. HUGHES NAMES UTILITIES BOARDS; Both Parties Represented on the New Public Service Commissions. FITNESS THE CRITERION Chronic Office Holders Notable for Their Absence -- Senate to Confirm Appointments in Extra Session" (PDF). The New York Times. June 29, 1907. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
- "ALDRIDGE FOR HUGHES.; State Committeeman Makes Announcement Favoring the Governor" (PDF). The New York Times. December 19, 1907. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
- "The Defeat of Aldridge" (PDF). The New York Times. April 20, 1910. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
- "THE MAN WHO BEAT ALDRIDGE -- JAMES S. HAVENS; Personality of the Rochester Lawyer Who Upset a Confident Political Machine and Focussed the Eyes of the Country Upon Him" (PDF). The New York Times. April 24, 1910. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
- "ALDRIDGE TO ENTER BUSINESS; Republican Boss of Rochester to Head Big Building Supply Concern" (PDF). The New York Times. March 5, 1913. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
- "ALDRIDGE CHOSEN PORT COLLECTOR; Rochester Leader Offered Post Here, but Has Not Yet Accepted. POSTMASTERSHIP HELD UP No Decision Yet Reached as to New York Appointments to Diplomatic Portfolios" (PDF). The New York Times. March 8, 1921. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
- "MANY MOURN DEATH OF GEORGE W. ALDRIDGE; Resolutions Adopted by Customs Associates, by Party Committee and Athletic Board" (PDF). The New York Times. June 16, 1922. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
- Revolution, Daughters of the American (1917). Lineage Book - National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Daughters of the American Revolution. p. 223. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
- "Mrs. George W. Aldridge" (PDF). The New York Times. November 12, 1935. Retrieved February 23, 2018.
- Secretary's Report of the Harvard University Class of 1917. Harvard University. 1921. p. 216. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
- "GEORGE W. ALDRIDGE DEAD IN ROCHESTER; Son of Late Republican Leader Succumbs to Brain Tumor at the Age of 44" (PDF). The New York Times. December 31, 1934. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
- "GEORGE W. ALDRIDGE BURIED BESIDE FATHER; Governor Miller Heads Honorary Pallbearers--Services In Church" (PDF). The New York Times. June 17, 1922. Retrieved February 23, 2018.
Richard J. Curran
| Mayor of Rochester, NY
Merton E. Lewis
Byron R. Newton
| Collector of the Port of New York
Henry C. Stuart