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Encyclopedia > Ephraim Willard Burr

Ephraim Willard Burr (1809-1894) was a businessman who served as mayor of San Francisco (1856-1859). 1809 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... 1894 (MDCCCXCIV) was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... Nickname: The City by the Bay; Fog City Location of the City and County of San Francisco, California Coordinates: Country United States of America State California City-County San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom Area    - City 122 km²  (47 sq mi)  - Land 121. ... 1856 was a leap year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... 1859 (MDCCCLIX) is a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Monday of the Julian calendar). ...

Burr was born on March 7, 1809 in Rhode Island. As a young man, he worked for a whaling company which sent him west. After losing his crew while docked in San Francisco -- many sailors were lured away by the prospect of finding gold during the Gold Rush -- Burr stayed put and opened a grocery store. His moved his family to California to be with him. The venture proved so successful that he opened California's first savings union, the San Francisco Accumulating Fund Association. March 7 is the 66th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (67th in leap years). ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The California Gold Rush (1848 – 1855) started in January 1848, when gold was discovered at Sutters Mill. ... Official language(s) English Capital Sacramento Largest city Los Angeles Area  Ranked 3rd  - Total 158,302 sq mi (410,000 km²)  - Width 250 miles (400 km)  - Length 770 miles (1,240 km)  - % water 4. ...

His entered politics in 1855 when he petitioned the common council to curb open-stream pollution caused by local slaugherhouses. Burr stated that the pollution caused cholera to enter the streams, causing three deaths -- including that of his son. 1855 was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... Cholera is a water-borne disease caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, which is typically ingested by drinking contaminated water, or by eating improperly cooked fish, especially shellfish. ...

Burr was soon noticed by the Vigilante movement, who recommended him as the People's Party candidate for mayor. He was elected mayor on November 4, 1856 and took office on November 15 of that year. Charles Cora and James Casey are lynched by the Committee of Vigilance, San Francisco, 1856. ... November 4 is the 308th day of the year (309th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 57 days remaining. ... November 15 is the 319th day of the year (320th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 46 days remaining. ...

Burr entered office under a new city charter that significantly weakened his powers, however, this did not stop him from cutting city spending (including spending from the formerly separate county government). Nor did this loss of authority stop Burr from reforming the office of city treasurer (he changed the salary from a percentage of the city receipts to a fixed wage to stop grafting). In many governments, a treasurer is the person responsible for running the treasury. ...

He also proposed a plan to make the city Board of Supervisors overlords of the city debt, and to make the city attorney the overseer of the city's legal matters, which were previously handled by outside attornies. In some counties, the legislature is the board of supervisors. ...

After leaving office, Burr devoted himself to business interests. His primary one was the Savings and Loan Society, which he became president of 1857, while he was mayor. He was also president of the San Francisco Fire Insurance Company from 1861 to 1866. He also loaned $30,000 to build the now-famous cable car system before retiring in 1879. 1857 was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... 1861 is a common year starting on Tuesday. ... 1866 (MDCCCLXVI) is a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar or a common year starting on Wednesday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar. ... 1879 (MDCCCLXXIX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ...

He would make his final public appearance in 1891, when the Board of Supervisors sought to extend Van Ness Avenue to the San Francisco Bay. He wanted to stop the expansion, since the extended route went through his property. Year 1891 (MDCCCXCI) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar). ...

He died in San Francisco on July 20, 1894. His estate was valued at six million dollars. July 20 is the 201st day (202nd in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 164 days remaining. ...


  • Heintz, William F., San Francisco's Mayors: 1850-1880. From the Gold Rush to the Silver Bonanza. Woodside, CA: Gilbert Roberts Publications, 1975. (Library of Congress Card No. 75-17094)
Preceded by
George J. Whelan
Mayor of San Francisco
Succeeded by
Henry F. Teschemacher



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