Frank Evans

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This article is about the former Mayor. For the Black Barons player, see Frank Evans (baseball).

Frank Vallatlon Evans (born November 25, 1850 in Cape Fear, North Carolina; died 1914 in Birmingham) was one of the publishers of the Weekly Iron Age and Daily Age and Mayor of Birmingham from 1896 to 1899.

Evans was the son of John and Frances Evans of a reputable North Carolina family. John Evans died in 1855 and after several years Frances moved with her children to Fernandina, Florida. The outbreak of Civil War compelled them to relocate quickly to Georgia, but Frank returned to Florida briefly to attend a military academy in Tallahassee.

After the war, young Frank apprenticed as a printer for the Albany News, edited by his brother-in-law Carey Styles. He continued his studies in Carroll County, Georgia and earned a degree in accounting at a Macon business college, after which he partnered with Styles. He later took over control of the newspaper, continuing after its merger with the Albany Advertiser in 1876, and building its influence and reach. During this time he married Callie Hill of Burton County, Georgia, with whom he had five children. He also served as a city clerk and treasurer in Albany.

In July 1881 Evans relocated to Birmingham and bought a one-half interest in the Weekly Iron Age. That December he and his partner, W. C. Garrett, created a second, daily paper known as The Daily Age. In 1882, they reorganized the two papers under the Iron Age Publishing Company with Evans as president. Forced by ill health to resign in 1883, Evans returned to publishing with the Sunday Chronicle in January 1884, later expanding it into the Evening Chronicle. At that time he resided in a large home on the southwest corner of 7th Avenue North and 24th Street, hosting his editor George Cruikshank, as a boarder.

Shortly after his arrival in Birmingham, Evans was elected to the Birmingham Board of Aldermen. After one term, he won the position of Birmingham City Clerk. In 1886 he was elected Birmingham City Treasurer and served as a trustee of the Southern Female University. He was elected Mayor in the 1896 Birmingham mayoral election and served from December of that year until May of 1899. During his term as mayor he successfully lobbied the Alabama Legislature to permit the city to increase its primary tax rate from 1/2 cent to 1 cent on the dollar, saving Birmingham from a serious fiscal crisis and making possible the construction of the new Birmingham City Hall, which was completed in 1901.

In 1903 Evans helped found the Meridian Press in Mississippi and was involved in the Walker County News published in Jasper. He published fear-mongering paid editorials in the Age-Herald attacking the United Mine Workers of America for their integrated activities during the 1908 coal miners strike. In 1911 Governor Emmet O'Neal appointed him an examiner of accounts. He resigned in 1913 to return to business in Birmingham. After the death of his first wife, Carrie, he married the former Sarah Wilder.

Evans died in 1914 and is buried at Oak Hill Cemetery.

Preceded by:
James Van Hoose
Mayor of Birmingham
18961899
Succeeded by:
Mel Drennen

References