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Harry Baals
American mayor

Harry Baals

Harry Baals
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American mayor
Was Politician
From United States of America
Field Politics
Gender male
Birth 16 November 1886, Modesto, Stanislaus County, California, U.S.A.
Death 9 May 1954, Fort Wayne, Allen County, Indiana, U.S.A. (aged 67 years)
Politics Republican Party
The details (from wikipedia)

Biography

Harry William Baals (November 16, 1886 – May 9, 1954) was the Republican Mayor of Fort Wayne, Indiana, from 1932–1947 and from 1951 until his death in 1954.

Biography

When he first took office he consolidated city departments and lowered city tax rates. He launched construction of Fort Wayne's massive underground sewage system and built the city sewage treatment plant, still being used today.

During the great depression, Mayor Baals directed war materials drives, upgraded city equipment and services, and broke ground for Baer Field, now Fort Wayne International Airport. In the 1930s one of his major accomplishments was getting the old Nickel Plate Railroad tracks, running through downtown, to be elevated. This opened up the north side of the airport for development.

Fort Wayne newscaster Bob Chase, of WOWO-AM, relates a story that he once pronounced the mayor's name "Bales." Mayor Baals personally called him following the broadcast to correct his pronunciation, saying, "son, this is your Mayor. I pronounce my name 'Balls'."

Harry W. Baals died in 1954 of a kidney infection, while serving his fourth term as mayor. He is buried at Lindenwood Cemetery in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Legacy

The new Harry W. Baals Dr. street sign

Harry Baals Drive was named in honor of the late mayor, extending east from Parnell Avenue, north and west of the St. Joseph River in Johnny Appleseed Park. In recent years, the double entendre arising from Baals's name has led Fort Wayne officials to shy away from naming streets and buildings after him. The aforementioned street has been renamed to "H. W. Baals Drive" as the old street sign was constantly being stolen.

Harry Baals Government Center

In early 2011 Fort Wayne city officials invited people to suggest names for a new government building. The winner with 23,826 votes was the "Harry Baals Government Center," more than ten times the votes received by the closest contender. But city officials almost immediately backed away from the name (many Americans, including those in the Fort Wayne area, pronounce Harry identically to hairy. See the Mary–marry–merry merger.) The city's deputy mayor Beth Malloy said, "We realize that while Harry Baals was a respected mayor, not everyone outside of Fort Wayne will know that. We wanted to pick something that would reflect our pride in our community beyond the boundaries of Fort Wayne." Subsequently it was announced that the building would be named "Citizens Square."

Incapable of distinguishing "Al" and "awl", Harry Baals's descendants have arbitrarily taken to pronouncing their name so that it became a homophone of "Bales."

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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