- 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.
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 Schoolin 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 diabetesand heart diseaseat the age of 86 after serving sixteen years as mayor, still a record.
May 17, 1999, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro(D-CT) dedicated the Richard C. Lee Courthousein downtown New Haven to Lee. DeLauro worked with Senators Christopher Doddand Joseph Liebermanto rename the federal building, which stands at 141 Church Street.
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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