Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

William T. Malster (1843-1907)
MSA SC 3520-12482


Source:  Wilbur F. Coyle, The Mayors of Baltimore (Reprinted from the Baltimore Municipal Journal, 1919), 179-185.
William T. Malster was Mayor of Baltimore from November 17th, 1897, to November 15th, 1899. 

It was during this administration that one of the most beneficial changes in the history of the City Government took place. The second ordinance signed by Mayor Malster authorized the appointment of a commission to frame a new Charter for Baltimore. This "new Charter grew out of the agitation that was started during the administration of Mayor Hooper, when attention was drawn to the laxity in the old system of government, but it was not until under Mayor Malster that the movement took concrete form." 

Mr. Malster realizing the great opportunity presented appointed a commission that was acclaimed with general satisfaction. William Pinkney Whyte was chairman. The other members were Gen. Ferdinand C. Latrobe, Dr. Daniel C. Gilman, Judge Samuel school purposes October 1, 1899. The office of Assistant Superintendent of Machinery in the Fire Department was established and provision was made to equip a fire-engine company and a hook-and-ladder company, the erection of quarters for the latter having been previously authorized. A new Electrical Commission was created, which, with the funds provided by a $1,000,000 loan approved during Mayor Hooper's administration, began a systematic construction of the underground wire conduits. A previously appointed Electrical Commission built a few conduits, and did considerable preliminary work. An ordinance authorizing a $4,300,000 loan for redeeming certain loans then about due was approved, an $875,000 loan to the Western Maryland Railroad Company was made. A general $4,500,000 loan for street paving, schoolhouses, storm-water sewers and for a sanitary sewerage system was authorized. The Sewerage Commission was directed to investigate and to report upon the dangers of polluting the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. A Councilmanic Resolution providing for the appointment of a commission to investigate and report a general plan of street improvement was passed. An Ordinance regulating the character of street paving to be laid thereafter in Baltimore, and prohibiting the further use of cobblestones, except for repair purposes, was approved. A plan of streets for the Annex of 1888 was adopted, and the decimal system of numbering houses was extended into the then Annex. Many streets in the sections added to Baltimore in 1888 were paved and provision was made for erecting the Northern Police Station-house, Cedar and Second avenues. the street railway companies were required to pay cost of paving, or repaving, between tracks and for two feet on either side. The running of all-night cars on certain lines was authorized. An ordinance requiring operation of vestibule cars or cars with enclosed platforms, during the colder portion of year, was passed. Extensions to Clifton Park were authorized. Provision was made for the appointment of colored instructors of drawing, sewing and music in the public schools having colored teachers. An ordinance prohibiting expectoration, or spitting, upon the floor of street cars or public buildings was signed. The Daughters of the Confederacy were authorized to erect a monument to the Confederate soldiers and sailors. The original ordinance directed placing the monument in Druid Hill Park, but amendments changed the location to Mount Royal avenue between Mosher street and Lafayette Avenue. 

William T. Malster was born in Chesapeake City, Maryland, April 4th, 1843. During his early boyhood he tried several occupations, finally finding employment on a steamer. He made a study of steam engineering, and became engineer on a canal freight boat. He advanced in his profession until he was chief engineer of an ocean transport. He was a close student of ships and their construction. In 1871 Mr. Malster founded a small plant for engines and steamers at the foot of Caroline street. He was successful in this venture, and his reputation as an engine and shipbuilder grew. 

At the foot of Ann street, where he later established himself, the steamer Enoch Pratt was built as well as the hull of the powerful ice-boat, F. C. Latrobe. In 1879 with W. B. Reaney, of Philadelphia, he organized the firm of Malster & Reaney, located at Locust Point, adjoining Fort McHenry. This plant was afterward known as the Columbian Iron Works Company, of which Mr. Malster was president and general manager. It built the cruisers Detroit and Montgomery, which were among the first vessels of the modernized American Navy, and with fine docking facilities the company did much important work. Early submarines were constructed at this plant. Mr. Malster, prior to his election as Mayor, 'was very active in Republican politics. He had been seriously considered by certain members of his party for Governor, and at the time Mayor Hooper secured the Mayoralty nomination was an active candidate. In 1893 he ran, but in the general election was defeated by F. C. Latrobe, Democrat. When, in 1897, Mr. Malster was nominated, Mr. Theodore Marburg was also an aspirant, and for the time being it looked as though 'the latter might be the nominee. Mr. Malster, however, was selected and in the general election defeated Henry Williams, Democrat. The latter part of Mr. Malster's term June 27, 1919 was under the new (1898) charter. He served as president of the Board of Estimates which was created by the new law. (The first sitting of this body was April 12th, 1898). In 1899 Mr. Malster was renominated, but was defeated by Mr. Hayes at the first municipal election, held in the spring (May 2nd), as the new charter prescribed holding municipal elections in May. Mr. Malster's term as Mayor did not expire until November 15th, 1899. Upon this date Thomas G. Hayes who, as stated, had been elected the preceding May, was inaugurated. Mr. Malster was a Maryland delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1896, and after retiring from the Mayoralty was Naval Officer at Baltimore, to which office he was appointed in 1902. 

He was married three times. His first wife was Miss Bridget Leary; his second Miss Florence Hill, of North Carolina; and the third, who survived him, was Mrs. L. Hardcastle of Cecil County, her maiden name having been Anna L. Conroy. Mr. Malster died March 2nd, 1907. 

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