Richard C. Lee

Richard C. Lee

Richard Charles Lee (March 12, 1916 - February 2, 2003) (sometimes called ""Mr. Urban America") was the longest serving Mayor of New Haven (1954-70) and also the youngest when he held the position in 1954 at age 37. Lee is best known for his leading role in urban redevelopment in the 1950s and 60s.

Biography

Richard Charles Lee was born on March, 12, 1916. He grew up in a cold-water apartment in the working-class Newhallville neighborhood. His father, Frederick, worked at the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. He graduated from Hillhouse High School in 1934.

After being defeated for mayor in 1949 and 1951, he won in 1954. During his first re-election campaign in 1957, John F. Kennedy, then in the Senate, traveled to New Haven to campaign for him. To shore up New Haven's large Italian electorate, the mayor brought in Rocky Marciano, the boxer. He won that election by a two-to-one margin. He died of diabetes and heart disease at the age of 86 after serving sixteen years as mayor, still a record.

On May 17, 1999, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) dedicated the Richard C. Lee Courthouse in downtown New Haven to Lee. DeLauro worked with Senators Christopher Dodd and Joseph Lieberman to rename the federal building, which stands at 141 Church Street.

ee also

*Oak Street Connector, also known as the Richard C. Lee Highway - a freeway in downtown New Haven named after the former mayor


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