Mayor Byrne

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Mayor Jane Byrne campaign button. White underlined text on green background.

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Jane Byrne was the first female mayor of Chicago serving from 1979 to 1983. Her policies ranged from limiting possession of handguns, hiring African-American cabinet members, to revitalizing Navy Pier. Sympathetic to the plight of the inner city, Byrne decided to move into the housing project Cabrini-Green, along with her husband. Her plan was to bring attention to the crime rate there, after 37 shootings resulted in 11 deaths in just three months at the beginning of 1981. However, Mayor Byrne remained only for three weeks causing many to see it as simply a publicity stunt.

The most interesting event in her term as Mayor happened on November 11, 1981. A man named Dan Goodwin climbed the John Hancock Building, dressed as Spider-Man, getting as high as the 38th floor before authorities became involved. When the Chicago Fire Department planned to hose Goodwin off of the side of the building while also breaking glass along his path to keep him in one spot, Mayor Byrne interceded on his behalf. She allowed him to continue without hosing him and he successfully made the climb to the top of the building. 

Catalog ID CH0010