(Courtesy of San Francisco Chronicle)

#TBT: The Eccentric History of the San Francisco Mayor's Office


A city as weird and wonderful as San Francisco is bound to have its share of unusual characters at the helm.

With the recent and stunning loss of SF Mayor Ed Lee, we got to wondering about the mayors of our past. What we found were great achievements, as well as plenty of scandals and eccentricities—no surprise there. Take a look at some of the city's most distinguished and notorious mayors in SF history.

The Jailbird

(via San Francisco Chronicle)

Known as "Handsome Gene," Eugene Schmitz was a man of the arts before he was mayor—he conducted the orchestra at the Powell Street Columbia Theatre, and was also the president of the Musician's Union. It was on the Union Labor Party ticket that he was put forward and elected in 1902. Schmitz was mayor during the 1906 earthquake and fire, famously organizing the Committee of Fifty; just one year later, in the summer of 1907, Schmitz was at last convicted for ongoing charges of corruption and graft—he was accused of using his power to extort, with the police as accomplices, the city's "French restaurants" (aka brothels). He was sentenced to five years at San Quentin and the mayor's office was declared vacant. But Schmitz won his appeal, enjoying only a short stay at the city jail. He ran for mayor again in 1915 and 1919, and was resoundingly crushed.

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