John Hanson Thomas Jerome (c. 1816-1863)
MSA SC 3520-12474
The following essay was taken from Wilbur F. Coyle, The Mayors of
Baltimore (Reprinted in The Baltimore Municipal Journal, 1919),
John Hanson Thomas Jerome was Mayor of Baltimore from November 11, 1850, to November 8, 1852.
During this administration the McDonogh bequest was made "in trust" to the City, which later resulted in the foundation of the McDonogh School. The Maryland Institute Hall, Marsh Market Space and Baltimore Street, was erected (destroyed in the fire of 1904). Bonds to the extent of $1,500,000 of the Northwestern Virginia Railroad were guaranteed by the City.
In one of his messages to the Council Mayor Jerome proposed quite an ambitious programme of municipal development. Among other things he suggested the acquisition of Federal Hill, now a City park. He, too, advocated the purchase of the water-works, then operated under private ownership, and he proposed that if the Gas Company would not illuminate the streets properly, the Municipality should establish its own gas plant.
The political separation of Baltimore City and Baltimore County occurred during this administration, which important change became effective with the ratification by the people of the State Constitution in 1851. This resulted in Towson becoming the county seat instead of Baltimore and thus Baltimore became a separate political division of the State.
Ordinances approved during this administration provided for condemning and opening streets, etc., as follows: Broadway from Baltimore to Gay Street; Biddle from Caroline Street to Harford Avenue; McMechen from Ross (now Druid Hill Avenue) to North Avenue; North Avenue from Greenmount to Pennsylvania Avenue; Fort Avenue from William Street to Fort McHenry; Madison Avenue from Presstman Street to North Avenue; and Garden Street (now Linden Avenue) from Mosher Street to North Avenue. Authority to erect an Eastern Female High School (on part of the site of the present building, Aisquith near Orleans Street) and three other schoolhouses was granted. Provision for constructing an iron bridge across Jones Falls at Hillen Street and a drawbridge (since razed) at Block Street and West Falls Avenue was made. Other legislation at this time authorized an extension to Hollins Market and the laying out of Federal Hill Park, also granting permission to a new corporation, the "Gas Light Company," to lay pipes in the streets, lanes, alleys, etc., of Baltimore. This company produced "water gas," which it claimed was cheaper and better than the gas then being manufactured. The office of City Surveyor was created and plans for appointing "Commissioners to inquire into the propriety of supplying the City with water" were approved. An addition to the City Jail was planned.
* * * * * *
Mr. Jerome was Mayor of Baltimore at the time of the visit of the Hungarian patriot and exile Louis Kossuth, to Baltimore, December 27th, 1851. He was chairman of a meeting to ratify the nominations of the Whig Convention at Baltimore, June 21st, 1852. He was also a member of the Board of Directors of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and of the Howard Bank. Mr. Jerome died January 25, 1863.
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