Mayors of the City of Providence



23. Elisha Dyer (1839-1906)

Served January 1906 to November 1906 (Republican)

Birthplace: Providence. Dyer studied in Germany, graduating with a Ph.D. from the University of Gissen. During the Civil War he fought as a sergeant until he was injured in Easton, Pennsylvania, and was sent back to Rhode Island. Later, Dyer served in the Marine Corps Artillery in Providence and spent 20 years as a chemical manufacturer. He advocated the Providence Public School Teachers Retirement Act. Before serving as Mayor, Dyer was governor of Rhode Island for two terms, 1897-1900. He died less than one year after his election. (Portrait located in the Archives)


24. Patrick McCarthy (1846-1921)

Served January 1907 to January 1909 (Democrat)

Birthplace: Greenvagh Parish, County Sligo, Ireland. When he was elected in 1907, McCarthy was the first mayor of Providence born in a foreign country. His mother and father died as soon as they arrived in America, and he and his six brothers were all put into orphanages and separated. McCarthy practiced law after graduating from Harvard Law School in 1876. He favored eight-hour workdays for City laborers, retirement divisions for teachers, and pensions for members of the police and fire departments. The Cranston Armory was built during McCarthy's term. (Portrait number twenty-six, located on the fifth floor)


25. Henry Fletcher (1859-1953)


Served January 1909 to January 1913 (Republican)

Birthplace: Birmingham, England. Fletcher served the community as director of the Jewelers' Board of Trade. He was director of Atlantic National Bank, president of the Providence Central Club, and a member of the Common Council and the Board of Aldermen (of which he was voted president in 1908). During his administration, the city acquired the property for the municipal pier, and the harbor waters were deepened. He also supported the Scituate Reservoir project. (Portrait number twenty-seven, located on the fifth floor)


26. Joseph H. Gainer (1878-1945)

Served January 1913 to January 1927 (Democrat)

Birthplace: Providence. Gainer graduated from Holy Cross College and studied law at Catholic University. Notable during his administration were the unusually cold winters of 1917 and 1918 that caused the Providence Harbor and water pipes across the city to freeze. Mayor Gainer responded to the disaster by organizing an effective emergency coal-delivery program. He also directed the Fire Department to open the city's fire hydrants to supply residents with water. Gainer developed the Port of Providence, improved the City's highway system, enacted many zoning ordinances, and modernized the school system. (Portrait number twenty five, located on the fifth floor)