The history of Louisville, Kentucky, United States, as a city is considered to have started on February 13, 1828, the date of the first city charter. From the time of its first organization as a village, on February 7, 1781, until its incorporation as a city, it was governed by a board of trustees. At the time when its growth and commercial importance demanded the change of its government, it was chartered by the state legislature into a city of five wards and placed under the government of a mayor and city council, the latter being composed of ten members, two from each ward.
History of the office
The first election under the Act of Incorporation took place in March 1828. All free white males who had lived in the city for at least six months prior to the election could vote, although mayors were not elected directly initially. The two top vote-getters were referred to the Governor, who selected the mayor from the two, with senate approval. The early mayor was relatively weak, acting mostly as a Justice of the Peace, serving a one-year term, and lacking a vote on the City Council except to break ties.
A change to the charter in 1838 allowed for direct election of a mayor, extended the term to three years, and prevented incumbents from running for re-election. The term was reduced to two years from 1851 to 1870, then returned to three, and was finally set at four years by the Kentucky Legislature in 1894. In the early 20th century, corruption and political machines were rampant, causing mayors of both parties to be removed from office by courts. All legislative power was given to the Board of Aldermen in 1929. Mayoral term limits were set at three in 1986.
|Mayor||Term began||Term ended||Political party|
|W. A. Cocke||1836||1836|
|Frederick A. Kaye||1837||1840||Whig|
|David L. Beatty||1841||1843|
|Frederick A. Kaye||1844||1846||Whig|
|William R. Vance||1847||1850||Whig|
|John M. Delph||1850||1852|
|James S. Speed||1853||1854||Whig|
|John Barbee||1855||1856||Know Nothing|
|William S. Pilcher||1857||August 1858||Know Nothing|
|Thomas W. Riley||August 1858||April 1859||Whig|
|Thomas H. Crawford||April 1859||1860||Unionist|
|John M. Delph||1861||1862||Unionist|
|Philip Tomppert||1865||December 28, 1865 ||Democratic|
|James S. Lithgow||January 2, 1866||February 14, 1867||Democratic|
|Philip Tomppert||February 14, 1867||1868||Democratic|
|Joseph H. Bunce||1869||March 1870||Democratic|
|John G. Baxter||1870||1872||Democratic|
|Charles D. Jacob||1873||1878||Democratic|
|John G. Baxter||1879||1881||Democratic|
|Charles D. Jacob||1882||1884||Democratic|
|P. Booker Reed||1885||1887||Democratic|
|Charles D. Jacob||1888||1890||Democratic|
|William L. Lyons||May 12, 1890||August 1890||Democratic|
|Henry S. Tyler||1891||January 14, 1896||Democratic|
|Robert Emmet King||January 14, 1896||January 31, 1896 (pro tem)||Republican|
|George Davidson Todd||January 31, 1896||December 1897||Republican|
|Charles P. Weaver||December 1897||December 1901||Democratic|
|Charles F. Grainger||December 1901||December 1905||Democratic|
|Paul C. Barth||December 1905||July 1907||Democratic|
|Robert W. Bingham||July 1907||December 1907||Democratic|
|James F. Grinstead||December 1907||December 1909||Republican|
|William O. Head||December 1909||December 1913||Democratic|
|John H. Buschemeyer||December 1913||December 1917||Democratic|
|George Weissinger Smith||December 1917||December 1921||Republican|
|Huston Quin||December 1921||December 1925||Republican|
|Arthur A. Will||December 1925||June 1927||Republican|
|Joseph T. O'Neal||June 1927||December 1927||Democratic|
|William B. Harrison||December 1927||December 1933||Republican|
|Neville Miller||December 1933||December 1937||Democratic|
|Joseph D. Scholtz||December 1937||December 1941||Democratic|
|Wilson W. Wyatt||December 1941||December 1945||Democratic|
|E. Leland Taylor||December 1945||February 16, 1948||Democratic|
|Charles R. Farnsley||February 16, 1948||December 1953||Democratic|
|Andrew Broaddus||December 1953||December 1957||Democratic|
|Bruce Hoblitzell||December 1957||December 1961||Democratic|
|William O. Cowger||December 1961||December 1965||Republican|
|Kenneth A. Schmied||December 1965||December 1969||Republican|
|Frank W. Burke||December 1969||December 1, 1973||Democratic|
|Harvey I. Sloane||December 1, 1973||December 1, 1977||Democratic|
|William B. Stansbury||December 1, 1977||January 1, 1982||Democratic|
|Harvey I. Sloane||January 1, 1982||January 1, 1986||Democratic|
|Jerry Abramson||January 1, 1986||January 1, 1999||Democratic|
|David L. Armstrong||January 1, 1999||January 5, 2003||Democratic|
|Mayor||Image||Term began||Term ended||Political party|
|Jerry Abramson||January 6, 2003||January 2, 2011||Democratic|
|Greg Fischer||January 3, 2011||Present||Democratic|
- Louisville Metro Council
- Government of Louisville, Kentucky
- History of Louisville, Kentucky
- Timeline of Louisville, Kentucky
- Louisville mayoral election, 2014
- Died in office in August 1858.
- Served as mayor Served as mayor pro tempore. Left office in April 1859.
- Impeached by Board of Aldermen for failure to approve an infrastructure bill tainted by bribery
- Resigned on February 14, 1867 after the Kentucky Court of Appeals restored Tomppert.
- Served as mayor pro tempore.
- Left office on January 14, 1896.
- Removed from office in June 1907 as election was found to be fraudulent.
- Appointed interim mayor
- Removed from office in June 1927 as election was found to be fraudulent.
- Died in office on February 16, 1948.