George Bell Swift
George Bell Swift, Mayor of Chicago (1).jpg
36th[1] Mayor of Chicago
In office
April 8, 1895 – April 15, 1897
Preceded byJohn Patrick Hopkins
Succeeded byCarter Harrison, Jr.
In office
November 9, 1893 – December 27, 1893
Preceded byCarter Harrison, Sr.
Succeeded byJohn Patrick Hopkins
Chicago Alderman from the 11th Ward[2]
In office
Serving with William D. Kent
Preceded byWalter M. Pond
Succeeded byAlexander H. Watson
In office
Serving with Amos G. Throop (1879–1880)
Thomas N. Bond (1880–1881)
Preceded byAnsel B. Cooke
Succeeded byThaddeus Dean
Personal details
Born(1845-12-14)December 14, 1845
Cincinnati, Ohio
DiedJuly 2, 1912(1912-07-02) (aged 66)
Chicago, Illinois
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Lucy L. Brown
ChildrenBrown F. Swift, Herbert B. Swift, George L. Swift, Grace Bell Bachelder, Adelaide Pearl Taylor, Eldred B. Swift, Edith L. Swift
Residence(s)Chicago, Illinois

George Bell Swift (December 14, 1845 – July 2, 1912; buried in Rosehill Cemetery) served as mayor of Chicago, Illinois (1893; 1895–1897) for the Republican Party. He was selected to replace the assassinated Carter Harrison, Sr. as Mayor pro tem in 1893 and lost a bid for election as mayor that year. He was elected mayor when he ran in 1895.[3]

Early life and career

Swift was born in Cincinnati, Ohio to Samuel W. Swift and Elizabeth Swift (born Bell). His family moved to Galena, Illinois when he was young. By his teenage years, the family was living in Chicago. Prior to serving as mayor of Chicago, Swift served two terms as an alderman from the 11th Ward (one term from 1879 to 1881 and one term from 1892 until 1894 (the latter of which he was serving during his acting mayoralty in 1893).[2] From 1887 to 1889, he was the city's Commissioner of Public Works.[4]

Swift was a proponent of the City Beautiful movement.[5]

Acting mayoralty

After the assassination of Carter Harrison Sr., the Chicago City Council selected Swift to serve as acting mayor.

Swift was sworn in as acting mayor on November 9, 1893.[6]

The following month, he lost the special election to fill the remainder of Harrison's term to Democrat John Patrick Hopkins. Hopkins took office as mayor on December 27, 1893, ending Swift's acting mayoralty.[7]


In 1895, Swift was elected mayor of Chicago, defeating Democratic nominee Frank Wenter by a broad margin.

Swift was sworn in as mayor on April 8, 1895.[8]

Swift declined to seek reelection in 1897, and was succeeded by Democrat Carter Harrison Jr. on April 15, 1897.[9][10]


  1. ^ "Chicago Mayors". Chicago Public Library. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Centennial List of Mayors, City Clerks, City Attorneys, City Treasurers, and Aldermen, elected by the people of the city of Chicago, from the incorporation of the city on March 4, 1837 to March 4, 1937, arranged in alphabetical order, showing the years during which each official held office". Archived from the original on September 4, 2018. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  3. ^ Mayor George Bell Swift Biography: Mayor of Chicago, 1893, 1895-1897, Chicago Public Library
  4. ^ Leonard, John W. (1902). The Book of Chicagoans. Chicago: A.N. Marquis & Co. p. 560.
  5. ^ "The Scroll of Phi Delta Theta". 1915.
  6. ^ "Mayor George Bell Swift Inaugural Address, 1893". Chicago Public Library. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  7. ^ "Mayor John Patrick Hopkins Inaugural Address, 1893". Chicago Public Library. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  8. ^ "Mayor George Bell Swift Inaugural Address, 1895". Chicago Public Library. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  9. ^ Morton, Richard Allen (29 June 2016). Roger C. Sullivan and the Making of the Chicago Democratic Machine, 1881-1908. McFarland. pp. 103–106. ISBN 9781476663777. Retrieved 11 May 2020.
  10. ^ "Mayor Carter Henry Harrison IV Inaugural Address, 1897". Chicago Public Library. Retrieved 26 May 2020.