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Harry White was born in Iowa in 1859, and in 1887 came to Seattle, where he invested in real estate. As a City Council member, he advocated for city ownership of utilities: this became an important issue in the mayoral election of 1890. White, a Republican, was elected to the office of Mayor in August of 1890 and served an abbreviated term until October of that year, when Seattle's first home rule City Charter was adopted. He subsequently was elected under the new Freeholders' Charter. The new charter also allowed for city ownership of water utilities, and Seattle was able to purchase the privately owned water systems. Other important issues in White's short term of office were the organization of the police and fire departments, the library, and Seattle's parks system.
White resigned due to illness on November 30, 1891, and George Hall was appointed by the City Council to fill the remainder of his term.
Messages of the Mayor Harry White, 1890-1891, include reports on the financial condition of the city, vetoes, and proposed amendments to the City Charter. Other messages -- written to the Board of Aldermen, House of Delegates, or to both branches of the City Council -- deal with issues such as tax levies, extension of the city limits, and a visit to the City by President Benjamin Harrison.
[Item and date], Harry White Mayor's Messages, Record Series 5295-01. Page [number]. Seattle Municipal Archives.