William Emmett Dever

American mayor (1862–1929)

William Emmett Dever (March 13, 1862 – September 3, 1929) was an American politician who was the Mayor of Chicago from 1923 through 1928. During his term he helped clean and fix the entire city of Chicago.

William Emmett Dever
42nd Mayor of Chicago
In office
April 16, 1923 – April 18, 1927
Preceded byWilliam Hale Thompson
Succeeded byWilliam Hale Thompson
Personal details
Born(1862-03-13)March 13, 1862
Woburn, Massachusetts
DiedSeptember 13, 1929(1929-09-13) (aged 67)
Chicago, Illinois
Political partyDemocratic
ResidenceChicago, Illinois

Early life


Dever was born on March 13, 1862 in Wobrun, Massachusetts. He was raised in Boston, Massachusetts and in Chicago, Illinois.



Dever's term in office saw many improvements to the city, including the completion of Wacker Drive, the extension of Ogden Avenue, the straightening of the Chicago River and the building of the city's first airport, Municipal Airport. He also fought against the corrupting influence of bootlegging and gangsters.[1] Despite considering himself a "wet", he enforced prohibition since it was the law of the land. The media labeled his war on bootleggers as the "Great Beer War" and it resulted in a decline of crime.

Dever died on September 3, 1929 in Chicago, Illinois from cancer, aged 67.


  1. Schmidt, John R. (2011-10-03). "William E. Dever: The Mayor Who Cleaned Up Chicago". Chicago History Today. WBEZ. Archived from the original on 2015-12-30. Retrieved 2012-05-29.