Past Mayors

Ben E. Douglas (1935-1941)

Public Service:
Ben Douglas was the first Mayor of Charlotte elected directly by voters.  A new charter changed the process from appointment to election.  Douglas served three terms as Charlotte's Mayor from 1935 to 1941.

An Iredell County native, Douglas was a World War I veteran.  He owned Douglas Furs located at Independence and Elizabeth Avenue.

            Photo of Ben Douglas

During his Administration:

  • The Mint Museum was completed.  Douglas sought and obtained Federal funding to complete the rebuild of the U.S. Mint.  The museum opened October 22, 1936.
  • The first public airport was built in Charlotte.  It was named Douglas Municipal Airport in honor of Ben Douglas.  Today's airport, Charlotte/Douglas International Airport still carries that designation.
  • Eastern Airlines made its first flight into Charlotte on May 17, 1937.
  • American Legion Memorial Stadium was completed as a memorial to veterans of World War I.  The first Shrine Bowl Game was played in 1937 between high school athletes from North Carolina and South Carolina. 
  • The first public housing was built in Charlotte
  • Old #85 trolley made its last run as buses replaced electric street cars in downtown Charlotte in 1938.
  • Germany invades Poland on September 1, 1939 starting the second World War. 
  • In 1940 Charlotte's population topped 100,000 making it North Carolina's largest city.