Charles H. Brown - 40th Mayor Of Tampa

Charles H. Brown - 40th Mayor Of Tampa

Charles Brown 

Born: March 12, 1868

Died: January 17, 1928

Term: January 4, 1921 - January 8, 1924

Born in Abbeville, Georgia, Charles was the son of Williamand Laura Brown nee Roberts. In 1870, his family migrated to Hamilton County,Florida where Charles attended the East Florida Seminary in Gainesville. Afterhe completed his education, Charles Brown became a successful merchant andmarried Margaret Gardner in Suwannee County with whom he had five children:Isla, Karl, Nellie, Margaret and Brownie. In 1907, Brown moved to Tampa where heestablished the Tampa and Gulf Coast Railroad and served as its first President.Brown extended the railroad to Tarpon Springs (1910) and St. Petersburg (1914).He was also one of the founders of the Tampa Bank of Commerce and the FloridaMortgage, Title and Bonding Company. Brown also had vast real estate holdings inPasco and Hernando Counties, and in Tampa. He also served on the Board of PublicWorks for a number of years before becoming involved in local politics.

Charles Brown has the distinction of being the first mayor ofTampa to serve under the commission form of government. In 1920, proponents forthe Commission-Manager system believed that this structure of government wouldenable the City to conduct municipal affairs in a more direct and business-likemanner. The City of Tampa's Charter was revised to adopt this form ofgovernment, which elected a mayor, and four commissioners who, in turn,appointed a City Manager. The mayor essentially became a figurehead with no moreadministrative power than the commissioners did. The City Manager served as theadministrative head of the municipal government.

After serving three years as mayor, Charles Brown returned to hisbusiness activities. He passed away inTampa on January 17, 1928.

Sources for this Biographical Sketch:

Covington, Dr. James W. and Wavering, Debbie Lee, "The Mayors of Tampa:A Brief Administrative History," Tampa, FL: University of Tampa, 1987.

Grismer, Karl H., Tampa: A History of the City and the Tampa Bay Region ofFlorida, St. Petersburg Printing Company, FL, 1950.

Robinson, Ernest L., History of Hillsborough County, Florida: Narrative andBiographical, The Record Company, St. Augustine, FL, 1928.

Tampa Council Minutes, City of Tampa Archives, Tampa, FL

June 15, 1920 - May 29, 1923 Roll # 8

June 1, 1923 - May 26, 1926 Roll # 9