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Politics > Gainesville City Council
The last meeting of the Gainesville City Council was held September 19, 1927, and the occasion was captured in this photograph (reproduced with the permission of Clarence O'Neill, long-time Gainesville City Clerk). That was the day when the city's old seven-member Council was abolished and a new city charter with a five-member Commission became effective. The setting was the second-floor meeting room in the new City Hall which had just opened two months earlier, when the "Gainesville Daily Sun" had declared "…the City Council room is perfect in every detail. It is about 30 feet by 60 feet and the ceiling is about 8 feet from the floor so that there is very little echo. There are 22 large windows in this room, each about 12 feet in height. The council table and chairs are situated on an upraised platform, encircled by a railing. It is estimated that the council room can accommodate 300 persons and will be used solely for council meetings, small conventions and public gatherings."
The identification of the persons is as follows: At the small table in the rear center, Joseph E. Waugh (City Comptroller and Clerk) and Dillon Graham ("Gainesville Sun" reporter); at the right rear, Robert Mathews and James R. Fowler (Mayor); at the Council table in the front, left to right, Councilman William A. Shands, City Attorney Zach Douglas, and Councilmen E. A. Haynie, J. A. Goodman, R. L. Black, Benmont M. Tench (facing away from the camera), and William B. Phifer. The man on the far left, outside the railing, is unidentified. Councilman J. H. Vidal was absent. The next day five new commissioners were elected with the largest voter turnout ever recorded in the city; Shands and Phifer, plus three new men—Hal Batey, Lee Graham, and C. R. Layton—were elected.
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