Archive for December, 2012

Dr. Rufus H. Greer was called “the professional Mayor of Texas” by the Dallas Morning News in 1915. He was elected as Mansfield’s mayor in 1908 and served until 1909. In 1912, he was elected as the mayor of Arlington and served until 1914 when Preston F. McKee took over. McKee left office in 1915 and Greer returned as mayor, serving until 1919.

Greer was born in Texas in 1874 and came from an educated family. His father was a doctor and Greer became one of the first dentists in Arlington. Tall and slender with light-colored hair and blue eyes, Greer was evidently popular with Arlington residents. The Morning News said he was “a consistent worker for municipal development and his accomplishments here are looked upon with favor and praised by his fellow-townsmen.”

One example of his municipal development was his 1915 plea in the Arlington Journal for residents to keep the city clean. He asked folks to not throw trash in the gutter, not to let their chickens run loose, and not to keep a pack of flea-covered dogs. “The sanitary conditions of our city should be the first consideration with every inhabitant and if you will do your duty, we can have the cleanest and prettiest town in Texas.”

Greer died in 1934, leaving behind a wife, Genevieve, and a son and daughter, also named Rufus and Genevieve.
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Tom Vandergriff

Tom Vandergriff was born in Carrollton, Texas, in 1926 and his family moved to Arlington in 1937. He graduated from Arlington High School in 1943 and from the University of Southern California in 1947. He married Anna Waynette Smith in 1949. In 1951, Vandergriff ran for and won his first term as Arlington mayor. He remained as mayor for 26 years. He resigned in 1977. He served one term as a U.S. Representative from 1983 to 1985 and was elected four times as county judge of Tarrant County from 1991 to 2007. Vandergriff died on Dec. 30, 2010.
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