A. O. Lane

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File:A. O. Lane.jpg
A. O. Lane. courtesy BPL Archives

Alexander Oscar "A. O." Lane (born October 29, 1848 in Macon County - died April 1916 in Birmingham) was a lawyer, newspaper editor, judge and the Mayor of Birmingham from 1882 to 1888 and from 1890 to 1892.

Lane was the son of Dr Alexander and Mary E. Phillips Lane who moved to Alabama from Georgia. After graduating from private school he worked as principal of a boys' high school in Clayton while reading law under Chancellor John A. Foster. He was admitted to the bar in 1869 and began his practice in Ozark before moving to the young city of Birmingham in 1873.

In Birmingham Lane became a partner of John Terry, marrying his daughter Minnie in May 1875. After Terry's retirement he took on E. T. Taliaferro and B. H. Tabor as partners. Later he was an associate of Frank S. White.

In 1880 Lane became editor of the Birmingham Iron Age. Two years later he was elected Mayor, and won re-election in 1884 and 1886. In 1888 he was defeated by B. A. Thompson, but unseated the incumbent to return to office in 1890. At the end of that two-year term he served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention and was appointed an Associate Justice for the 10th Judicial Circuit of Alabama.

Lane built a residence at the corner of 8th Avenue North and 19th Street in 1887. Beginning in 1896 Lane secured the purchase of 200-acres on the south slope of Red Mountain for use by the city. The property was the home of Red Mountain Cemetery, used for the burial of paupers.

When Birmingham changed from a Mayor-Aldermanic government to a Board of Commissioners in 1911, he resigned from the bench and was appointed to the first commission.

Lane died in 1916. He is buried at Oak Hill Cemetery. He and his wife had five children. During his life, Lane refused to allow any monuments, parks or projects to be named for him. The Red Mountain parcel, however, was dedicated to his memory in 1934 as Lane Park. It eventually became the home of the Birmingham Zoo and Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

Preceded by:
Thomas Jeffers
Mayor of Birmingham
1880 - 1888
Succeeded by:
B. A. Thompson
Preceded by:
B. A. Thompson
Mayor of Birmingham
1890 - 1892
Succeeded by:
David Fox

References