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William H. Frecker - 36th Mayor Of Tampa

William Frecker

Born: 1849  

Died: April 22, 1914

Term: June 8, 1906 - June 4, 1908

Born in New Brunswick, Canada, William Frecker immigrated to the United States in 1878. Initially, he settled in Chicago and opened a furniture store. Frecker learned about the economic opportunities in Tampa and, in 1894, he sold his furniture business and moved to Tampa where he established the Chicago Furniture House which became quite successful. Soon after his arrival in Tampa, Frecker became active in local politics and, in 1898, was elected to the City Council which had become divided into two strongly opposing groups known as the "Little Four" and the "Big Six."  He continued to serve on City Council during his mayoral campaign when he successfully ran against the incumbent Frank Bowyer in June 1906.

During his mayoral campaign, William Frecker expressed policies that appealed to both business leaders and the working class. He was quite candid regarding his support for unions yet the business community found in Frecker someone that they could work with. 

During his term as mayor, Frecker persuaded City Council to "pass ordinances that reduced the rates charged by the Tampa Water Works Company and Peninsular Phone Company." In addition, the City of Tampa annexed the remainder of the Fort Brooke military reservation that was sold, in part, to real estate developers. Frecker campaigned for re-election in June 1908 but was defeated in a close race by Francis Wing whose policies were very similar to Frecker's. In June 1910, Frecker again campaigned for mayor against D.B. McKay but lost by a small number of votes. After his second loss to D.B. McKay in the June 1912 mayoral election, William Frecker retired from politics and returned to his business. He died in Tampa on April 22, 1914.

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.

Kerstein, Robert, "Two Decades of Political Conflict - 1900-1920:Tampa Politics in a League of Its Own," Sunland Tribune, vol. 26, no. 1,August 2000, pp. 9-20.

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

March 11, 1905 - December 7, 1910 Roll # 4