Charles H. Brown - 40th Mayor Of Tampa

Charles Brown Mayor of Tampa

Born: March 12, 1868

Died: January 17, 1928

Term: January 4, 1921 - January 8, 1924

Born in Abbeville, Georgia, Charles was the son of William and Laura Brown nee Roberts. In 1870, his family migrated to Hamilton County,Florida where Charles attended the East Florida Seminary in Gainesville. After he completed his education, Charles Brown became a successful merchant and married Margaret Gardner in Suwannee County with whom he had five children:Isla, Karl, Nellie, Margaret and Brownie. In 1907, Brown moved to Tampa where he established 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 Florida Mortgage, Title and Bonding Company. Brown also had vast real estate holdings in Pasco and Hernando Counties, and in Tampa. He also served on the Board of Public Works for a number of years before becoming involved in local politics.

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

After serving three years as mayor, Charles Brown returned to his business activities. He passed away in Tampa 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 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

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

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