Dr. Duff Post - 20th And 26th Mayor Of Tampa
Born: May 19, 1854, Tampa, Florida
Died: May 19, 1915, Tampa, Florida
First, Second, and Third Terms : August 14, 1883 - August 13, 1886
Fourth Term: March 4, 1891 - March 4, 1892
Born in Tampa, Duff Post was the son of Tampa's 5th Mayor, Madison Post. He attended local schools and then graduated with a degree in dentistry from the Philadelphia Dental College. Dr. Post returned to Tampa where he established a dental practice, became involved in local politics, and was a successful entrepreneur. His business ventures included establishing an ice cream parlor and restaurant in the Masonic Lodge Building in downtown Tampa. In 1873, he was President of the Board of Health in Hillsborough County. From 1881 until 1883, he served as Tampa's City Marshal.
In 1883, Dr. Post was elected Mayor of Tampa, the second native of Tampa to hold the office. Subsequent elections were held in 1884 and 1885, and he was again elected, serving three successive one year terms. During his first term, Mayor Post's administration gave Henry B. Plant authority to extend his railroad system to Tampa. The Town Council also extended privileges to Plant's steamship company. A wharf was constructed at the edge of Polk Street to serve as a receiving dock for railroad building materials. Plant also purchased vast tracts of land for the construction of passenger and freight stations.
Following his first three terms as Mayor of Tampa, Dr. Post was elected to Tampa's City Council, where he served from 1889 until 1890. During his time as a council member, he worked on civic improvements. He was also a member of the Board of Trade.
He was elected as Tampa's 26th Mayor on March 4, 1891. Tampa was a different city when he returned to office. Its population had grown from less than 1,000 residents in 1880, to over 5,300 residents in 1890. This increase reflected the widespread and diverse economic growth from Henry B. Plant's railroad and hotel, as well as the cigar industry, and the expansion of the city's port. As the population increased, the government imposed higher taxes to make capital improvements, and expanded it services in order to meet the needs of the increasing number of residents.
Mayor Post and his administration directed their attention toward civic improvements such as the construction of paved sidewalks, road improvements, and provisions for a cleaner city. Sanitation and polluted water was a concern in the city. To address these issues, City Council member Silas L. Biglow was appointed as the first head of the Department of Sanitation.
While in office in 1891, Mayor Post also served as Tampa's Postmaster, and he continued in this role until 1895. After leaving office, he returned to his dentistry practice and business ventures. He was a Mason and a member of Hillsborough Lodge No. 25 F&AM. Dr. Duff Post died in Tampa on May 19, 1915.
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 of Florida, St. Petersburg Printing Company, FL, 1950.
Robinson, Ernest L., History of Hillsborough County, Florida: Narrative and Biographical, The Record Company, St. Augustine, FL, 1928.
Tampa Council Minutes, City of Tampa Archives, Tampa, FL