Mayors of Denver

City and County of Denver Seal


#46. Mike Johnston (2023–Present)

Mayor Mike Johnston stands in front of the City and County Building

Mayor Mike Johnston is a Colorado native who started his career as a school teacher in the Mississippi Delta, an experience that inspired him to write his award-winning book “In the Deep Heart’s Core.” Shortly after, he came home to Colorado to address educational inequities as a school principal, leading three different schools in the Denver metro area. Additionally, he served as a Senior Advisor to President Obama during his presidential campaign and transition. He was then elected to the Colorado State Senate serving two terms representing Northeast Denver, where he worked to get bipartisan support to pass Colorado’s version of the DREAM Act, pass major gun safety legislation, and speed the state’s transition to renewable energy. He went on to serve as the CEO of Gary Community Ventures, a local philanthropic organization, where he built broad, diverse coalitions to pass the state’s first plan for universal preschool, pass the first successful effort to fund affordable housing and homelessness statewide, and create the Dearfield Fund, an award winning organization committed to closing the Black wealth gap through access to homeownership. As Mayor, he is committed to transforming Denver into America’s best city by delivering a city that is vibrant, affordable, and safe for everyone. Mike lives in East Denver with his wife Courtney, and their three kids, Emmet, Seamus, and Ava.

#45. Michael Hancock (2011–2023)

headshot of 45th Mayor Michael B. Hancock

Michael B. Hancock became Denver, Colorado’s 45th mayor in July 2011 and immediately began to transform Denver into a more globally competitive city. With the fifth-busiest airport in the United States serving more than 53 million passengers annually, Mayor Hancock is leveraging Denver International Airport to make the entire region a gateway to the world.

Mayor Hancock secured five new nonstop international flights, including Tokyo, Mexico City, Reykjavik and Panama City, bringing a combined $203M in economic benefits to the region. These routes are opening new connections between the Rocky Mountain West and Asia, Europe and Central America.

#44. Guillermo "Bill" Vidal (2011)

Denver's 44th mayor, Guillermo "Bill" Vidal

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 Mayor Michael B. Hancock was elected.

#43. John Hickenlooper (2003–2011)

Denver's 43rd mayor, John Hickenlooper

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 100th anniversary of this event’s first Denver appearance. Hickenlooper was elected Governor of Colorado in 2010, taking office in January of 2011

#42. Wellington Webb (1991–2003)

Denver's 43rd mayor, Wellington Webb

Wellington Webb, elected in 1991 as the first African-American Mayor of Denver, spurred the revitalization of downtown, added more park space than any other mayor, completed 85 percent of Denver International Airport, and created the Denver Health Authority, which financially restructured Denver Health Medical Center. Additionally, he revamped the city's local small business, minority and women's business program into a national model, and oversaw the redevelopment of Lowry Air Force Base and Stapleton International Airport. He hosted World Youth Day and the Summit of the Eight, which brought the pope and world leaders to the city; and opened international trade offices in London and Shanghai. He accelerated the redevelopment of the Central Platte Valley, including building new parks, streets, the city's first skate park, and funding for Union Station. His bond proposals help pay for major renovations to art, cultural venues and libraries, including the opening of the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library in historic Five Points. New sports facilities ← including Coors Field, The Pepsi Center and the new Mile High Stadium — were built downtown during his administration, and he negotiated 25-year leases for the Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche and Denver Broncos. Prior to becoming the 42nd mayor, he was elected as Denver's Auditor and to the Colorado State Legislature. After leaving office, he was appointed by President Barack Obama as a delegate to the United Nations. The Wellington E. Webb Municipal Office Building, completed in 2002, was named in honor of this former Mayor.


#41. Federico Peña (1983–1991)

Federico Pena, a Latino man with glasses

Denver’s first Latino mayor, Federico Peña, was sworn into office in 1983. Originally from Texas and an attorney by trade, Peña had already served in the Colorado House of Representatives when he was elected Mayor. Under Mayor Peña’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. Peña 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 Peña Boulevard, connecting Denver International Airport to Interstate 70, bears his name.

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

Denver's 40th mayor, William H. McNichols, Jr

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, was Denver’s second-longest serving Mayor. He 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.

#39. Thomas G. Currigan (1963–1968)

Denver's 39th mayor, Thomas G. Currigan

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.

#38. Richard Batterton (1959–1961)

Denver's 38th mayor, Richard Batterton

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 in the Park Hill neighborhood.

#37. Will Nicholson (1955–1959)

Denver's 37th mayor, Will Nicholson

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.


#36. Quigg Newton (1947–1955)

Denver's 36th mayor, Quigg Newton

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.

#35. Benjamin F. Stapleton (1935–1947)

Photo of Denver's 35th mayor, Benjamin F. Stapleton

Elected again in 1935 after serving a term as state auditor, Mayor Stapleton was a strong proponent of the Denver Municipal Airport, which later was renamed Stapleton International Airport. 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.

#34. George D. Begole (1931–1935)

Denver's 34th mayor, George D. Begole

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.

#33. Benjamin F. Stapleton (1923–1931)

Denver's 33rd mayor, Benjamin F. Stapleton

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 became active in politics, helping to found the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Having previously served as the police magistrate and the postmaster, Mayor Stapleton was credited with several civic improvements in and around Denver. In 1933, Stapleton was elected Colorado State Auditor.

#32. Dewey C. Bailey (1919–1923)

Denver's 32nd mayor, Dewey C. Bailey

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.


#31. W. F. R. Mills (1918–1919)

Denver's 31st mayor, W. F. R. Mills

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 at 3825 W. 32nd Avenue in Denver would later become a city landmark, for its architectural and historic significance.

#30. Robert W. Speer (1916–1918)

Denver's 30th and 7th term mayor, Robert W. Speer

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. Having built and improved numerous parks, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and the City Auditorium, Speer was honored with the prominent boulevard downtown that now bears his name.

#29. William H. Sharpley (1915–1916)

Denver's 29th mayor, William H. Sharpley

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.

#28. J. M. Perkins (1913–1915)

Denver's 28th mayor, J. M. Perkins

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 December 1st–6th in 1913.

#27. Henry J. Arnold (1912–1913)

Denver's 27th mayor, Henry J. Arnold

Running as the reform candidate, Henry J. Arnold defeated the Speer-Evans ticket in 1912 to 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.

#26. Robert W. Speer (1904–1912)

Denver's 26th mayor, Robert W. Speer

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. In 1908, Denver, nicknamed the “Queen City of the Plains”, hosted the Democratic National Convention in what is today’s Denver Performing Arts Complex.

#25. Robert R. Wright (1901–1904)

Denver's 25th mayor, Robert R. Wright

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 the land to be used for a cemetery.


#24. Henry V. Johnson (1899–1901)

Denver's 24th mayor, Henry V. Johnson

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.

#23. Thomas S. McMurry (1895–1899)

Denver's 23rd mayor, Thomas S. McMurry

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.

#22. M. D. VanHorn (1893–1895)

Denver's 22nd mayor, M. D. VanHorn

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.

#21. Platt Rogers (1891–1893)

Denver's 21st mayor, Platt Rogers

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.

#20. Wolfe Londoner (1889–1891)

Denver's 20th mayor, Wolfe Londoner

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 which was now well over 100,000 residents. By 1890, Denver had become the second most populous city west of Omaha.


#19. William Scott Lee (1887–1889)

Denver's 19th mayor, William Scott Lee

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

#18. Joseph E. Bates (1885–1887)

Denver's 18th and second-term mayor, Joseph E. Bates

Following his first term, Bates was elected again as Mayor in 1885.

#17. John Long Routt (1883–1885)

Denver's 17th mayor, John Long Routt

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.

#16. Robert Morris (1881–1883)

Denver's 16th mayor, Robert Morris

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

#15. Richard Sopris (1878–1881)

Denver's 15th mayor, Richard Sopris

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.


#14. Baxter B. Stiles (1877–1878)

Denver's 14th and second term mayor, Baxter B. Stiles

Baxter Stiles served the City of Denver in his second term as Mayor from 1877 to 1878

#13. Dr. R. G. Buckingham (1876–1877)

Denver's 13th mayor, Dr. R. G. Buckingham

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

#12. William J. Barker (1874–1876)

Denver's 12th mayor, William J. Barker

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.

#11. Francis M. Case (1873–1874)

Denver's 11th mayor, Francis M. Case

An active politician, Francis Case served the City of Denver as Mayor from 1873 to 1874.

#10. Joseph E. Bates (1872–1873)

Denver's 10th mayor, Joseph E. Bates

First elected Mayor in 1872, Joseph Bates’ Administration marks the turning point for a 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. 

#9. John Harper (1871–1872)

Denver's 9th mayor, John Harper

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


#8. Baxter B. Stiles (1869–1871)

Denver's 8th mayor, Baxter B. Stiles

A dedicated politician from Vermont, Baxter Stiles first served the City of Denver as Mayor from 1869 to 1871.

#7. William M. Clayton (1868–1869)

Denver's 7th mayor, William M. Clayton

A willing politician, William Clayton served the City of Denver as Mayor from 1868 to 1869.

#6. Milton DeLano (1866–1868)

Denver's 6th mayor, Milton DeLano

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.

#5. George T. Clark (1865–1866)

Denver's 5th mayor, George T. Clark

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.

#4. H. J. Brendlinger (1864–1865)

Denver's 4th mayor, H.J. Brendlinger

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

#3. Amos Steck (1863–1864)

Denver's 3rd mayor, Amos Steck

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.

#2. Charles A. Cook (1861–1863)

Denver's 2nd mayor, Charles A. Cook

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.

#1. John C. Moore (1859-1861)

first Denver Mayor, John C. Moore

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.