Yesterday, Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States of America alongside Vice President Kamala Harris, the first woman and first African American and South Asian American to hold the office. While this ceremony was historic for many reasons, inaugurations always have been an important part of democracy and peaceful transfers of power in the U.S.
Political offices in Evansville are no exception to this rule.
In January 1918, while Woodrow Wilson was in the midst of his second term as president, Evansville was hosting its own inauguration for mayor. In a photo from the Willard Library Digital Archives, Mayor Benjamin Bosse (center) delivers his second inaugural speech to a crowd of officials and residents.
Bosse is one of Evansville’s most renowned and progressive mayors. A Democrat, he served from 1914 to 1922 when he passed away at the age of 47 years during his third term. He was even inducted posthumously to the Evansville Business Hall of Fame.
During his time as mayor, Bosse had many major accomplishments that are still lauded today, including acquiring Garvin Park, creating Bosse Field, establishing the land Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden stands on, and declining his own salary which instead was donated for civic improvements.
Photo provided by Willard Library Digital Archive Collections.