Born: November 6, 1869, Teays Valley, West Virginia
Died: October 18, 1925, Tampa, Florida
Term: June 8, 1898 - June 8, 1900
Frank Clayton Bowyer was born on November 6, 1869, in Teays Valley, West Virginia. He attended the University of Kentucky and came to Tampa in 1890. He married Lula Baldrick and the couple had three sons. With William Bonacker, Bowyer established a brokerage firm, Bonacker & Bowyer, which was located in downtown Tampa. He later independently established a successful independent real estate agency, Frank C. Bowyer and Company.
Interested in politics, Bowyer was elected as Tampa's 32nd Mayor on June 8, 1898. As Tampa's population increased, Mayor Bowyer's administration faced a pressing need to improve and expand both public works and services. When the Spanish American War began, Tampa was selected as a debarkation port for U.S. troops and supplies that were going to fight the Spanish Army in Cuba. It was the beginning of an enormous economic boon for Tampa that brought millions of dollars to merchants and other businesses, and more taxes into the city's treasury which injected new confidence into the community.
In 1899, Mayor Bowyer proposed a plan to issue $525,000 in bonds to pay the city's debts and to be used for public works projects. Bowyer also persuaded the City Council to pass ordinances that required individuals who owned property in downtown Tampa to underwrite the pavement of streets and the construction of curbs and sidewalks. By the following year, most of the streets in downtown Tampa were hard surfaced and had good sidewalks.
The first sewers, which had been laid out in 1890, only served the principal business sections. Tampa had grown considerable over the years, and during Bowyer's term, the city greatly expanded its sewage system. After his term ended, Bowyer served as President of the Chamber of Commerce, as well as President of the Board of Trade. He also served as Chairman of the Board of Port Commissioners.
Frank Clayton Bowyer died in Tampa on October 18, 1925.
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
October 19, 1891 - December 28, 1899 Roll # 2
January 6, 1899 - March 7, 1905 Roll # 3