Mayor William Gaston 
Served 1871-1872

"Born in Killingly, Connecticut., October 3, 1820; died January 19, 1894; served as Mayor during 1871-1872.

He was called the democratic and citizens' candidate, and had for his competitor, Mr. George O. Carpenter. He was a man of high character, a lawyer by profession, and was universally respected, but he did not seem to have been a man of great force, for otherwise he would in all probability have bee n elected to a second term.

The establishment of a new board of health was the chief act of the municipal government during his administration. Another important event was the extension of the water system, when in 1871 the supply of water in Lake Cochituate had been found insufficient to supply the growing wants of Boston. From this period dated a systematic development of the water system.

By a legislative act of 1871, a new city department was established, known as the Department for the Survey and Inspection of Buildings. The department had hardly been organized when the Great Fire of 1872 occurred which led to many modifications of the building laws. It was probably the dissatisfaction with the manner in which Mayor Gaston managed the Fire Department during the Great Fire that defeated him for a second term.

The expenditures under Mayor Gaston rose to a very high figure, which has been ascribed partly to extravagance and partly to the demand for better service. At any rate, the expenditures, which had stood at more than $12,000,000 in 1871, rose to nearly $15,000,000 in the following year. Part of this rise, of course, was due to the Great Fire."


William Gaston, Boston Mayor 1871-1872
William Gaston


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