History of the Office

1) John C. Moore (1859-1861)
John C. Moore served as the first provisional Mayor of Denver from 1859 to 1861. During this time, the City of Denver was still considered a part of the Jefferson Territory, the unincorporated land bearing the name of our third President, Thomas Jefferson. The city owes its name to the former Kansas Territorial Governor, James W. Denver. During these gold rush years, the Moore Administration managed to maintain order, decrease mob violence and improve the physical infrastructure of the city, including building bridges.


2) Charles A. Cook (1861–1863)
Charles Cook became the second Mayor of the City of Denver in 1861, but the first elected Mayor of Denver in the recently formed Colorado Territory. Mayor Cook served for two successful terms, in which Denver’s population slowly increased. A popular banker and businessman of the times, he would later go on to found the First National Bank of Denver.




3) Amos Steck (1863–1864)
From Postmaster to School Board President to State Legislator to Mayor, Amos Steck was a true public servant. Coming to Colorado during the “Pikes Peak or Bust” gold rush from Pennsylvania, he served the Denver community as Mayor from 1863 to 1864. During his Administration, plans for Denver’s railroad networks were put into place, disputes arose between settlers and native peoples and Denver also experienced a horrific fire that turned much of downtown into ash. Mayor Steck held his community together during these tumultuous times, and later went on to become a Colorado Chief Justice, delegate to the Republican National Convention and founder of the University of Denver, the oldest university in the state.

4) H. J. Brendlinger (1864–1865)
An active politician, H.J. Brendlinger served the City of Denver as Mayor from 1864 to 1865.





5) George T. Clark (1865–1866)

George Clark became the Mayor of Denver in 1865 for one term. Before stepping into the role of Mayor, Clark also served the community as a local and state elected official, as well as a delegate to the 1880 Republican National Convention. Mayor Clark was also the first person in Denver to own a piano.



6) Milton DeLano (1866–1868)
An active politician, Milton DeLano served the City of Denver as Mayor from 1866 to 1868. During his Administration, in 1867, the City of Denver became the territorial capital of Colorado.



7) William M. Clayton (1868–1869)
A willing politician, William Clayton served the City of Denver as Mayor from 1868 to 1869.




8) Baxter B. Stiles (1869–1871)
A dedicated politician from Vermont, Baxter Stiles served the City of Denver as Mayor from 1869 to 1871



9) John Harper (1871–1872)
An active politician, John Harper served the City of Denver as Mayor from 1871 to 1872.




10) Joseph E. Bates (1872–1873)

Elected Mayor in 1872, Joseph Bates’ Administration marks the turning point for our then emerging city. Originally from the East Coast and connected with such names as the Denver Brewery, Denver Pacific Railroad and Denver Smelting and Refining Works, Mayor Bates brought a new image to the office. Denver’s growth in the following years steadily increased. 



11) Francis M. Case (1873–1874)
An active politician, Francis Case served the City of Denver as Mayor from 1873 to 1874.





12) William J. Barker (1874–1876)
William Barker was elected as Mayor of Denver in 1874, serving until 1876. In that same year, Colorado was admitted to the Union and Denver became the capital of our newly formed state.





13) Dr. R. G. Buckingham (1876–1877)
An active politician, Dr. R. G. Buckingham served the City of Denver as Mayor from 1876 to 1877.




14) Baxter B. Stiles (1877–1878)

A dedicated politician from Vermont, Baxter Stiles served the City of Denver in his second term as Mayor from 1877-1878




15) Richard Sopris (1878–1881)

A dedicated politician, Richard Sopris served the City of Denver as Mayor for four terms, from 1878 to 1881. During his time in office, the growing city reached a population of 35,628 people, according to the 1880 census.


16) Robert Morris (1881–1883)
An active politician, Robert Morris served the City of Denver as Mayor from 1881 to 1883.




17) John Long Routt (1883–1885)

A U.S. Republican political figure and originally from Kentucky, John Long Routt served as the 1st Governor of Colorado before becoming the Mayor of Denver in 1883 and serving until 1885. He dedicated his life to public service and held numerous offices throughout the state, attempting to cub the ever-rampant lawlessness and corruption of the time. After unsuccessfully running for the United States Senate, Routt ran successfully for the governorship again in 1891, and served as Colorado's 7th Governor until 1897


18) Joseph E. Bates (1885–1887)
 After his first term, Mayor Bates was elected again in 1885.



19) William Scott Lee (1887–1889)
An active politician, William Scott Lee served the City of Denver as Mayor from 1887 to 1889.




20) Wolfe Londoner (1889–1891)
In 1889, Wolfe Londoner was elected as Mayor to serve the Denver community. Under his direction, Denver’s population surged. The once fledgling settlement with only around 5,000 inhabitants, became the budding city of Denver was now well over 100,000 residents. By 1890, Denver had become the second most populous city west of Omaha.



21) Platt Rogers (1891–1893) 
Dedicated to serving the Denver community, Platt Rogers took office as Denver’s Mayor in 1891. He did much to curb the lawlessness and crime that ran rampant across the young state. Though in 1893, when the Sherman Silver Purchase Act was repealed, Denver rapidly sunk into depression. The response was to diversify economic interests to include agriculture and food processing. Farms, ranches and factories sprouted up everywhere. These, in conjunction with the networks of railroads, pulled Denver back to its feet, economically.


22) M. D. VanHorn (1893–1895) 

An active politician, M. D. VanHorn served the City of Denver as Mayor from 1893 to 1895. While Mayor VanHorn was in office, Denver’s rapid growth stood stagnant, as the Silver Depression of 1893 set in and the city attempted to regain its ground.



23) Thomas S. McMurry (1895–1899)

Serving his Denver community, Thomas S. McMurry was elected in 1895. He continued to serve for four terms, as he steered the city through tough times, with affects of the Silver Depression of 1893 still lingering. Mayor McMurry contributed greatly to the economic and societal reconstruction of Denver, as the city slowly began to return to normal.


24) Henry V. Johnson (1899–1901) 

Originally from Kentucky, Democrat Henry V. Johnson served the City of Denver as Mayor from 1899 to 1901. Having been raised in a very politically active family, Mayor Johnson knew the importance of public service. A lawyer by trade, he had already held the position of U.S. District Attorney for Colorado, as well as serving in his native Kentucky.


25) Robert R. Wright (1901–1904) 

A dedicated politician, Robert R. Wright served the City of Denver as Mayor from four terms, from 1901 to 1904. In 1903, a Denver city land dispute went to the U.S. Supreme Court, bearing the name of Mayor Wright. He won the lawsuit and allocated to land to be used for a cemetery.


26) Robert W. Speer (1904–1912)

Robert Speer served as the Mayor of Denver for three terms, with his first election in 1904. Mayor Speer was dedicated to improving the quality of life in Denver. He established the City Beautiful programs that have created and preserved some of the city’s most prized landmarks, including the tree-lined Cherry Creek and Civic Center Park. Having built and improved numerous parks, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and the City Auditorium, a prominent boulevard now runs through downtown bearing his name proudly. In 1908, Denver, nicknamed the “Queen City of the Plains”, hosted the Democratic National Convention in what is today’s Denver Performing Arts Complex.

27) Henry J. Arnold (1912–1913)

Running as the reform candidate, Henry J. Arnold defeated the Speer-Evans ticket in 1912 and become the Mayor of the city of Denver. Much controversy and hype surrounded this forward-thinking Mayor, as he served as a popular whistleblower of the time. Advocating for increased transparency to thwart corruption, Mayor Arnold quickly became a favorite of the people.


28) J. M. Perkins (1913–1915) 

J.M. Perkins of Missouri was elected Mayor of the City of Denver in 1913 and served his community for two years. A doctor by profession, member of the American Medical Association, a Freemason, and active in the Baptist church, Mayor Perkins was in office when Denver was hit with the greatest amount of snowfall ever from one storm. A record 45.7 inches fell from December 1st-6th in 1913.

29) William H. Sharpley (1915–1916) 

Educated in Denver public schools and a graduate of the University of Denver, Dr. William H. Sharpley served in numerous public offices before he was elected Mayor in 1915. During his time in office, Mayor Sharpley was deeply concerned with and advocated for the health and social welfare of the city. Continuing on in his dedication to his fellow Denverites, he served in the Colorado State Senate, a member to the Second Charter Convention of Denver, the Colorado Medical Association, and the Governor’s Guard, just to name a few.

30) Robert W. Speer (1916–1918) 

Robert W. Speer was elected Mayor for his fifth term in 1916. Still devoted to city beautification, his Administration oversaw the Denver Zoo expansion, the paving and graveling of nearly all of the city’s streets and the launching of an urban forestry program. Ill with pneumonia, Speer was the first Mayor to die while serving in office in the middle of his seventh term in 1918. A prominent boulevard now runs through downtown proudly bearing the name to honor this dedicated Mayor of Denver.|

31) W. F. R. Mills (1918–1919) 

Present and active during the 1908 Democratic National Convention held in Denver, W. F. R. Mills would become the Mayor of Denver just a decade later and serve until 1919. Originally from New York and a member of both the Freemasons and the Knights Templar, Mills was the president of the City Elite Laundry Company and a Universalist. His 1886 Victorian home that sits comfortably at 3825 W. 32nd Avenue in Denver would later become a city landmark, for its architectural and historic significance.

32) Dewey C. Bailey (1919–1923) 

An active Republican politician running on the promise of bipartisanship, Dewey C. Bailey was elected Mayor of the City of Denver in 1919 and served until 1923. During his time in office, gang activity dominated the spotlight as the infamous Bunko Gang was exposed and its members arrested. Mayor Bailey was also charged with the difficult task of enforcing Prohibition, after its 1919 ratification to the U.S. Constitution.

33) Benjamin F. Stapleton (1923–1931) 

Dedicated to his community, Kentucky-native Benjamin F. Stapleton was first elected Mayor of Denver in 1923. A First Sergeant in the Spanish-American War and a lawyer by profession, Stapleton was drawn to the political sphere, helping to found the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Having previously served as the police magistrate and the postmaster, Mayor Stapleton was aware of what improvements needed to be made and is credited with many civic improvements in and around Denver. In 1933, Stapleton would be elected Colorado State Auditor


34) George D. Begole (1931–1935) 

A graduate of the Denver Public School system, George D. Begole was elected Mayor of Denver in 1931. Having served successfully for ten years as city auditor, Begole was popular among the people for his knowledge of the economy and his disdain for wasteful government spending. His election was shrouded with conspiracy, as he won by only a slim margin. He managed to regain control of the city, leading the charge through the tough economic times of the Great Depression. During his last year in office in a dramatic display, Mayor Begole stole a police car that was left open and running. He did this to illustrate the lack of economic awareness in the city’s Administration. Begole did not seek a second term in office and returned to business in the private sector.

35) Benjamin F. Stapleton (1935–1947)

Elected again in 1935 after serving a term as state auditor, Mayor Stapleton recognized that Denver was disadvantaged as a result of all major railroad lines bypassing the city. He therefore became a strong proponent of the Denver Municipal Airport, which later was renamed Stapleton International Airport in his honor. Though this airport was replaced in 1995 with the Denver International Airport, the Stapleton community remains where the old airport used to stand. Utilizing the funding from President Roosevelt’s New Deal, he saw to the creation of the Denver Civic Center, as well as the expansion of the Denver Mountain Parks system, including the Red Rocks Amphitheater.

36) Quigg Newton (1947–1955)
An attorney and very successful businessman, Quigg Newton was elected Mayor of Denver in 1947 and served for two terms. The grandson of a Colorado Territory pioneer and a World War II veteran, Newton is largely credited with the modernization of the Denver city government, due to his extensive knowledge of external funding resources. Additionally, Mayor Newton created the Mayor’s Committee on Human Relations in 1948. He would later become the president of the University of Colorado, after holding numerous public offices. Newton was also a member of the Republican National Committee, Kiwanis Club, the Denver Country Club, the Elks Club, and the Colorado Sons of the Revolution. Today, several buildings in and around Denver are named in Netwon’s honor.


37) Will Nicholson (1955–1959) 

Elected to office in 1955, Will Nicholson served as the Mayor of Denver from 1955 to 1959. Mayor Nicholson’s dedication to improving the city’s infrastructure led to the assurance of an adequate water supply for Denver and a reform of the Career Service Authority. Prior to the enactment of federal legislation, Colorado and especially Mayor Nicholson also pioneered the campaign that prohibited housing discrimination.


38) Richard Batterton (1959–1961) 

Businessman Richard Batterton was elected Mayor of the City of Denver in 1959 and served until 1961. Mayor Batterton opened the door to international partnerships with Japan, as he signed the Sister-City Proclamation in July of 1960. Denver and the Japanese city of Takayama would now be explicitly linked, as the proclamation called upon Denver to universally recognize this tie of peace and friendship. During his Administration, Mayor Batterton also devised an evacuation plan for Denver’s residents that required them to relocate to the mountains. Especially vexed by the funding cut for highways, the primary means of evacuation, he wrote President Eisenhower on August 17th, 1959 in protest. Today, his historic, architecturally significant home still sits proudly in the Park Hill neighborhood.

39) Thomas G. Currigan (1963–1968)

Denver-native Thomas G. Currigan was elected Mayor in 1963, after a successful eight years as the City Auditor. A dedicated public servant, Mayor Currigan served until 1968. In 1964, a national design competition selected Denver-based William C. Muchow Associates Architects to design a new convention center. The project was completed in 1969 and named after his grandfather, Martin D. Currigan. Under Mayor Currigan’s leadership, the Denver Police Department’s morale increased and the city saw a sharp decline in crime rates. Popular among the people, Mayor Currigan also headed a delegation to Japan. During his Administration, Denver saw great progress and economic improvement, earning the Mayor United Press International’s Colorado Man of the Year in 1968. Today, Mayor Currigan still resides in Denver.

40) William H. McNichols, Jr (1968–1983)

Son of a former Denver City Auditor and brother of a former Governor of Colorado, William H. McNichols, Jr. continued the political line as he was elected Mayor of Denver in 1968. He served the Denver community until 1983. As his predecessor witnessed, Mayor McNichols also enjoyed great economic prosperity during his Administration. By the 1970s, Denver was booming as a result of exporting Colorado oil to stimulate the sluggish economy. The suburbs sprawled, dotted with shopping malls and restaurants, eventually leading to the opening of the Denver Tech Center. Mayor Bill, as he liked to be called, we Denver’s second-longest serving Mayor and also made significant strides with the water supply, building parks, swimming pools and recreation centers, and expanding the Denver Art Museum and the former Mile High Stadium.

41) Federico Peña (1983–1991)

Denver’s first Latino mayor, Frederico Pena, was sworn into office in 1983. Originally from Texas and an attorney by trade, Pena had already served in the Colorado House of Representatives when he was elected Mayor. Under Mayor Pena’s direction, the city successfully weathered the financial troubles that resulted from the oil bust and other private sector failures. He found ways to reinvest in the city to spur economic growth, including the initiation of plans for the new Denver International Airport (DIA) and for a major league baseball team. The economy had rebounded by 1990 and the population swelled as new technical jobs attracted people from across the U.S. and abroad. Denver’s Tech Center hit the map as a technological hotspot of the nation, home to companies such as U.S. West, Qwest Communications, TCI, and EchoStar. Pena would later go on to serve as U.S. Secretary of Transportation and U.S. Secretary of Energy under President Clinton, and as Co-Chair of current President Barack Obama’s National Campaign. The popular Pena Boulevard, connecting DIA to Interstate 70, proudly boasts his name.

42) Wellington Webb (1991–2003)
Wellington Webb was elected in 1991 as the first African-American Mayor of Denver. Educated in Colorado, Webb served as the City Auditor and in the former Colorado Governor Lamm’s Cabinet before becoming Mayor.  Mayor Webb contributed significantly to shaping the Denver we know and love today. His transformation of old, run-down parts of the city into stylish new lofts, galleries and restaurants, continues to create the unique atmosphere that downtown Denver boasts. Mayor Webb also oversaw the construction of the 16th Street Mall and the South Platte River Corridor Project, as well as the development of numerous shelters and assistance organizations designed to elevate and restore dignity to the homeless. His Administration oversaw the expansion of the parks system and a completion of both the Denver International Airport project and Coors Field. The Wellington E. Webb Municipal Office Building, completed in 2002, was named in honor of this former Mayor.


43) John Hickenlooper (2003–2011)

Pennsylvania-native John Hickenlooper was elected Mayor of the City of Denver in 2003. Before taking office as Mayor, Hickenlooper was first catapulted onto the political scene by heading the charge to ensure that “Mile High” remained a part of the name of the new Bronco’s stadium. An entrepreneur by profession and Co-Founder of the Wynkoop Brewing Company, Mayor Hickenlooper supported a series of administrative reforms and rallied the urban renewal movement of Lower Downtown. Under his leadership, the budget crisis was confronted, sparking key infrastructural changes throughout the city. Mayor Hickenlooper is well-known for his “10 year plan to end homeless,” Denver’s legalization of marijuana and Greenprint Denver, his initiative to promote sustainable development and reduce citywide greenhouse gas emissions. Mayor Hickenlooper was instrumental in bringing the Democratic National Convention back to Denver in 2008, the hundredth anniversary of this event’s first Denver appearance. Hickenlooper was elected Governor of Colorado in 2010, taking office in January of 2011

44) Guillermo "Bill" Vidal (2011)
Bill Vidal became Mayor in January of 2011, after then Mayor Hickenlooper assumed the Colorado Governor’s position. A career civil servant and Cuba-native, Mayor Vidal held notable positions at the Colorado Department of Transportation and on the Denver Regional Council of Governments before becoming Mayor. During his tenure with Denver, Vidal oversaw the development of strategic public-private partnerships and numerous infrastructural improvements and reforms. Construction of Denver’s Colorado Convention Center’s expansion project and the expansion of the Denver Art Museum, were both completed under his leadership. Mayor Vidal served until July 2011, when current Mayor Michael B. Hancock was elected.



45) Michael Hancock (2011-Present)





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