Honorable Edward E. Burkhart
Mayor of Dayton
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Edward E. Burkhart was born in Sidney, Ohio, on the twenty-seventh day of October 1872. His father and mother, both of whom are dead, were of that good, honest, sturdy, old German stock, who lent so much energy to the development of western Ohio.
Mr. Burkhart lived in his native city until he was eighteen years of age, and, after graduating from high school, he left Sidney in 1890, came to Dayton and entered the Miami Commercial College. After a course of six months' study, he graduated, well equipped to enter the business world, and soon proved himself a master of the opportunities that present themselves to young men who honestly and courageously undertake to make a mark for themselves in the battle of life.
In order that he might fortify himself in more ways than one, to cope with the intricate demands of a successful business career of the present day, the then future Mayor of Dayton thereupon entered the law offices of Gottschall & Brown, of this city, where he applied himself diligently for a year to the study of law. It had been his intention to complete his course of study of law, but a very lucrative position was tendered him at this time by The Standard Wheel Company, of Illinois, which he felt he could not consistently refuse to accept. This Company had a very extensive business with offices in Chicago, Indianapolis, and Terre Haute, and it became part of the duty of Mr. Burkhart as an employee of this company to visit these different offices from time to time. He continued with the company for four years, and became a very valuable man to the company.
The call of Blackstone, however, appealed so strongly to Mr. Burkhart that he felt himself constrained to leave the good paying position he was holding and return to the study of law. This he did, and in 1895 he again came to Dayton, where he entered the office of Honorable R. D. Marshall. During the next three years he studied with Mr. Marshall and at the University of Michigan, graduating in 1898 with the degree of LL.B., and the same year was admitted to the bar. In October 1899, Mr. Burkhart formed a partnership with John N. Van Deman, still one of his partners, and Walter D. Cline. Later, Mr. Cline retired from the firm and was succeeded by John C. Shea, which partnership continued for three years, Mr. Shea retiring. The law firm of Van Deman, Burkhart & Smith, as it now exists, was then formed.
Mr. Burkhart is, and always has been, a consistent Democrat. He is not what might be termed, in the strict sense of the word, a politician or a partisan. He is broad in his vies on political matters, as well as in other things. He is by no means an office-seeker, and would possibly not be Mayor of Dayton today had he not listened to the importunities of those who saw in him an ideal man for public office. He held but one political office prior to his election as mayor of the city of Dayton. For several years he served gratuitously as a member of the Board of Health, which position he accepted at the time at the earnest request of the late Major Snyder.
In the fall of 1907, Mr. Burkhart was prevailed upon to enter the Mayoralty contest. He went into the race with his usual energy and surprised even his most intimate friends by the forceful and effective manner in which he conducted a short, but spirited campaign. Although practically unknown to a great many of the voters of Dayton, he scored a decisive victory in the primary nomination, and was later elected by a handsome plurality in a three-cornered contest. It was his open, frank, courageous, and plain statement of his position on public matters during the campaign that won for him the confidence and esteem of the voters, and led them to elect him to the highest municipal office in their gift and to preside over the affairs of the city.
After serving two years as Mayor in the city of Dayton, giving to its citizens what is conceded by all fair-minded men as the best and most successful administration ever enjoyed by the tax-payers of the Gem city, Mr. Burkhart was renominated without opposition, and reelected by the largest majority ever given to any candidate for public office in Dayton, defeating one of the finest and most popular gentlemen of the city.
Mr. Burkhart is, without a doubt, one of the most popular officials ever elected in Dayton. His high sense of duty and his conscientious regard for that which is right and proper has led the people to confide in him, and the citizens in general are congratulating themselves upon having a man like Edward Burkhart at the helm at this time when public sentiment is so strongly in favor of large public improvements to meet the progressive ideas that are being advocated and urged by all citizens in their laudable desire to make Dayton greater and better in every sense of the word, and to meet the demands of a rapidly-growing city.
Mayor Burkhart has the reputation of doing things and of doing them at the right time. Quick to see and to determine, he never hesitates to do what he thinks is right. He does not waiver when he thinks it is time to act, but does things with a vim and in a business-like way. He has no time for those who falter in their duty for fear that their actions may not meet the approval of others. It is indeed inspiring to all public-spirited citizens and wholesome to the public welfare to have men in the office who are clean, forcible, and earnest as is Mayor Burkhart.
His relation to the Police Department is that of executive head, and his wisdom and good judgment are thoroughly appreciated by every member of the force. He is kind, yet forcible. Every man in the department realizes that, and is ever ready to cooperate with the Mayor in bringing about perfection in every detail in the work of the department.
The same condition prevails in the fire department, over which he also presides; and the magnificent discipline which exists in this important department of the city is largely due to his forceful, yet genteel demeanor.
The Mayor has a very genial disposition. He is pleasant to meet, gracious to all, and makes friends easily. He is a great lover of out-door sports, and believes in making the best of things as they are, and in doing things that tend to make others happy.
Mr. Burkhart has never embarked upon the matrimonial sea, and resides in bachelor apartments on South Ludlow Street. He has two brothers, both well-known business men of Sidney, Ohio. Mr. Burkhart is quite prominently connected with a number of organizations in the city. He is a member of the Humboldt Lodge, K. of P., the local lodge of Masons, Scottish Rite, Mystic Shriners, the Elks, Royal Arcanum, the Dayton Bicycle Club, the Dayton City Club, the Comus and Mystic clubs, the Thurman and Gem City Democratic clubs. He is also an enthusiastic member of the Dayton Golf Club. He is affiliated with the Chamber of Commerce and takes an active part in the progressive movements that are being advocated from time to time by this important body.