Walter H. Reynolds photograph

Walter H. Reynolds

Use attributes for filter !
Date of birth January 22,1901
Zodiac sign Aquarius
Born Providence
Rhode Island
United States
Date of died April 7,1987
Rhode Island
United States
Party Democratic Party
Resting placeSt. Ann Cemetery
Previous positionMayor of Providence (1951–1965)
Date of Reg.
Date of Upd.
Send edit request

Walter H. Reynolds History

Walter H. "Barney" Reynolds, served seven consecutive terms as 30th Mayor of Providence, Rhode Island, totaling fourteen years of service. He served from 1951 until 1965.

Walter H. "Barney" Reynolds (January 22, 1901 – April 7, 1987), served seven consecutive terms as 30th Mayor of Providence, Rhode Island, totaling fourteen years of service. He served from 1951 until 1965.

Early life

Reynolds was born in the "Irish End" of Providence's Federal Hill neighborhood, to Bernard and Catherine Reynolds. He attended St. Mary's Elementary School, the old English High School, and later the former St. Mary's Commercial High School. He worked for the Western Electric Company from 1922 to 1933. He never married.

Political career

Reynolds served as administrative assistant to Mayor Dennis J. Roberts. He became budget officer in 1943, and finance director in 1947. When Roberts ran for governor in 1950, Reynolds entered the mayor's race against Republican Robert E. Burns. Despite never having held elective office before, Reynolds won the election with 56,092 votes to Burns' 23,395. Reynolds was elected to office a total of seven consecutive terms.His accomplishments as mayor included:

The three-man Bureau of Police and Fire was replaced with a Public Safety Commissioner

Olneyville Expressway was completed

A system to prevent parking fraud for state workers

A new zoning code was developed

West River Industrial Park was built

New fire stations were built in 1953

A new central library was dedicated in 1954

Expanded street construction relieved traffic congestion

Stricter housing codes were enforced

Construction of the Fox Point Hurricane Barrier was begun after Hurricane Carol struck the area in 1954; the barrier was not completed until 1966.

Financial aid to public schools was increased

Six new elementary schools were built

A master plan for the development of downtown was prepared, but it was not implemented

The Providence Human Relations Commission was establishedIn 1964, Reynolds lost favor with Democratic city chairman Lawrence P. McGarry, Rhode Island's most influential party boss. McGarry backed the young city councilman Joseph A. Doorley Jr. in the 1964 Mayoral election, and Reynolds' political career was over.

Honors and legacy

He was inducted into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame in 1985. Reynolds received honorary degrees from Brown University and Bryant College.In 1977, the Fox Point Hurricane Barrier was named in Reynolds's honor.


External links

Walter H. Reynolds at Providence City website

Related Persons

Next Profile ❯