Acting Mayor (3-16-1933)

Chicago’s new Democrat machine was running just fine, thank you.  Frank Corr had completed his first day as mayor, and plans were already moving forward to get rid of him.

In 1931 party chief Anton Cermak had put together a coalition of ethnic blocs and was elected Mayor of Chicago.  He ran the city for two years.  Then he was shot.

Cermak died on March 6.  His second-in-command, Pat Nash, succeeded him as Democrat leader.  But getting a new mayor in place would not be so easy.

The Chicago City Council was supposed to appoint one of the aldermen to be acting mayor, until the next regular mayoral election.  That was two years away.  And none of the aldermen were acceptable to Nash and the other party leaders—not for two years, anyway.

Fortunately for the Democrats, they controlled state government.  The legislature got to work on passing a new law, to hold a special election in April.  Now the city council went ahead and chose that acting mayor.

Frank Corr

Frank Corr

Frank Corr was 17th Ward alderman.  He was 56 years old, a former corporation counsel, and a loyal party man.  He wanted to be a judge, not mayor.  He was the perfect place-holder.

The council elected Corr acting mayor by a vote of 33-16.  There were still some Republicans and anti-machine Democrats around, and his first session in the big chair was stormy—two aldermen got into a shouting match over who would control soft drink licenses.  But the council did pass an ordinance changing 22nd Street to Cermak Road.

Corr wound up serving little more than a month.  The newspapers assumed party leader Nash would be the next mayor.  To their surprise, he turned down the job.  He was 70, and felt he was too old.  Instead he backed his protege, Edward J. Kelly.

The special mayoral election was held, and Kelly was easily elected.  He was mayor for 14 years, a record for someone whose name is not Daley.

Acting Mayor Corr went back to being an alderman.  In 1934, as a reward for his services, Democrat leaders slated him for a judgeship on the Circuit Court of Cook County.  The night before the election, Frank Corr died.

—30—

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1 Response to “Acting Mayor (3-16-1933)”


  1. 1 Melvin March 17, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    Great vignette.


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