William O. Head

Infobox Person
name = William O. Head


image_size =
caption =
residence = 1414 S. Second Street in Old Louisville
birth_date = birth date|1859|07|29
birth_place = Providence, Kentucky, U.S.A.
death_date = death date and age|1931|04|19|1859|07|29
death_place = Clearwater, Florida, U.S.A.
occupation = Tobacco warehouse manager, businessman
title = Mayor of Louisville
term = 1909-1913
predecessor = James F. Grinstead
successor = John H. Buschemeyer
party = Democratic Party

William O. Head was mayor of Louisville, Kentucky from 1909 to 1913. He was the son of a captain in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. He was raised on a farm near Providence, Kentucky and came to Louisville age age 21 to take a job in a tobacco warehouse. He worked his way up through the tobacco industry for the rest of his professional career.

In 1894 he was elected to the Kentucky General Assembly as a Democrat. With the support of the John Henry Whallen's Democratic machine, he defeated James F. Grinstead to be elected mayor of Louisville in 1909. Local newspapers ran stories intended to scare white voters into voting for Head, exploiting fears of the growing black community in Louisville.

Head oversaw efforts to reform the city's tenement housing, adding code to the city's charter forbidding various unacceptable practices by landlords. The city also began appropriating funding for the University of Louisville during his administration.

After his term as mayor, he served as a delegate to the Democratic National Committee and as president of the Louisville Water Company.

He is buried in Cave Hill Cemetery.

References

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