List of mayors of Washington, D.C.

List of mayors of Washington, D.C.
Current mayor Vincent Gray (right) was sworn-in on January 2, 2011 with his predecessor, Adrian Fenty (left).

The list of mayors of Washington, D.C. is a reflection of the changing structure of its local government. Until 1871, three separate municipalities were located within the District of Columbia and each was governed separately: the City of Washington, Georgetown, and unincorporated territory known as Washington County. With the District of Columbia Organic Act of 1871, the three municipalities within the District of Columbia were abolished in favor of a single District government, whose chief executive was a territorial Governor. This office was abolished in 1874, and replaced with a three-member Board of Commissioners appointed by the President. This system existed until 1975 when the District of Columbia Home Rule Act allowed for District residents to elect their own mayor.

Currently, the Mayor of the District of Columbia is popularly elected to a four-year term with no term limits. Even though Washington, D.C. is not in a state, the city government also has certain state-level responsibilities, making some of the mayor's duties analogous to those of United States governors. The current mayor of Washington, D.C. is Vincent C. Gray, a Democrat, who has served in the role since January 2, 2011.

The lists on this page include all of the chief executives of the District of Columbia in their various forms.


Mayors of the City of Washington (1802–1871)

The persons listed below are the mayors of the now-defunct City of Washington, which was officially granted a formal government in 1802. The Mayor of Washington had authority over city services, appointments, and local tax assessments; however, the duties of the mayor mostly consisted of requesting appropriations from Congress to finance the city. From 1802 to 1812, the mayor was appointed by the President of the United States. Between 1812 and 1820, the city's mayors were then selected by a city council. From 1820 to 1871 the mayor was popularly elected. The present-day boundaries of the "Old City" were Rock Creek to the west, Florida Avenue to the north, and the Anacostia River to the east and south.

Mayor Term Began Term Ended
Robert Brent 1802 1812
Daniel Rapine 1812 1813
James H. Blake 1813 1817
Benjamin G. Orr 1817 1819
Samuel N. Smallwood 1819 1822
Thomas Carbery 1822 1824
Samuel N. Smallwood 1824 1824
Roger C. Weightman 1824 1827
Joseph Gales, Jr. 1827 1830
John P. Van Ness 1830 1834
William A. Bradley 1834 1836
Peter Force 1836 1840
William Winston Seaton 1840 1850
Walter Lenox 1850 1852
John Walker Maury 1852 1854
John Thomas Towers 1854 1856
William B. Magruder 1856 1858
James G. Berret 1858 1861
Richard Wallach 1861 1868
Sayles J. Bowen 1868 1870
Matthew Gault Emery 1870 1871

Mayors of Georgetown (1790–1871)

Georgetown was a town in Maryland until 1801, when it became a municipality within the District of Columbia. From 1802 until 1871, mayors of Georgetown were elected to one-year terms, with no term limits.[1] Like the City of Washington and Washington County, Georgetown's local government ceased to exist in 1871, when Congress merged the three entities into the single District government.

Mayor Term Began Term Ended
Robert Peter 1790 1791
Thomas Beale 1791 1792
Uriah Forrest 1792 1793
John Threlkeld 1793 1794
Peter Casenave 1794 1795
Thomas Turner 1795 1796
Daniel Reintzel 1796 1797
Lloyd Beall 1797 1799
Daniel Reintzel 1799 1804
Thomas Corcoran 1805 1806
Daniel Reintzel 1806 1807
Thomas Corcoran 1808 1810
David Wiley 1811 1812
Thomas Corcoran 1812 1813
John Peter 1813 1818
Henry Foxall 1819 1820
John Peter 1821 1822
John Cox 1823 1845
Henry Addison 1845 1857
Richard R. Crawford 1857 1861
Henry Addison 1861 1867
Charles D. Welch 1867 1869
Henry M. Sweeney 1869 1871

Governors of the District of Columbia (1871–1874)

In 1871, Congress created a territorial government for the entire District of Columbia, which was headed by a governor appointed by the President of the United States to a four-year term. Due to alleged corruption and mismanagement, the territorial government was discontinued in 1874.

Governor Term Began Term Ended
Henry D. Cooke 1871 1873
Alexander Robey Shepherd 1873 1874

Presidents of the Board of Commissioners (1874–1975)

From 1874 to 1974, the District was administered by a Board of Commissioners, whose members were appointed by the President. There were three members of the Board: one Democrat, one Republican, and one civil engineer with no specified party. The three Commissioners would then elect one of themselves to be president of the commission. This list features the Presidents of the Board of Commissioners; while not quite analogous to the role of a mayor, the president of the commission was the city's Chief Executive.

President Term Began Term Ended Political Party
William Dennison 1874 1878 Republican
Seth Ledyard Phelps 1878 1879 Republican
Josiah Dent 1879 1882 Democratic
Joseph Rodman West 1882 1883 Republican
James Barker Edmonds 1883 1886 Democratic
William Benning Webb 1886 1889
John Watkinson Douglass 1889 1893
John Wesley Ross 1893 1898
John Brewer Wright 1898 1900
Henry Brown Floyd MacFarland 1901 1909
Cuno Hugo Rudolph 1910 1913
Oliver Peck Newman 1913 1917
Louis Brownlow 1917 1920
Charles Willauer Kutz (acting) 1920 1920
John Thilman Hendrick 1920 1921
Cuno Hugo Rudolph 1921 1926
Proctor L. Dougherty 1926 1930
Luther Halsey Reichelderfer 1930 1933
Melvin Colvin Hazen 1933 1941
John Russell Young 1941 1952
F. Joseph Donohue 1952 1953
Samuel Spencer 1953 1956
Robert E. McLaughlin 1956 1961
Walter Nathan Tobriner 1961 1967 Democratic
Walter Washington 1967 1975 Democratic

Mayors of the District of Columbia (1975–present)

Since 1975, the District has been administered by a popularly elected mayor and city council.

Mayor Years Political Party
Walter Washington January 2, 1975 – January 2, 1979 Democratic
Marion Barry January 2, 1979 – January 2, 1991 Democratic
Sharon Pratt Kelly[2] January 2, 1991 – January 2, 1995 Democratic
Marion Barry January 2, 1995 – January 2, 1999 Democratic
Anthony A. Williams January 2, 1999 – January 2, 2007 Democratic
Adrian Fenty January 2, 2007 – January 2, 2011 Democratic
Vincent C. Gray January 2, 2011 – present Democratic
Flag of Washington, D.C..svg District of Columbia portal


  1. ^ Ecker, Grace Dunlop (1933). A Portrait of Old Georgetown. Garrett & Massie. p. 8. 
  2. ^ Elected as "Sharon Pratt Dixon," but remarried in December 1991.

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