William Barlum Thompson

William Barlum Thompson (March 10, 1860 February 12, 1941) was the Mayor of Detroit from 1907 to 1908 and again from 1911 to 1912.

William Barlum Thompson
43rd Mayor of Detroit, Michigan
In office
Preceded byGeorge Pierre Codd
Succeeded byPhilip Breitmeyer
45th Mayor of Detroit, Michigan
In office
Preceded byPhilip Breitmeyer
Succeeded byOscar Marx
Personal details
BornMarch 10, 1860 (1860-03-10)
Detroit, Michigan
DiedFebruary 12, 1941 (1941-02-13) (aged 80)
Detroit, Michigan
Spouse(s)Nellie Hymes


William Barlum Thompson was born on March 10, 1860 in Detroit, the son of Thomas and Bridget Barlum Thompson.[1] He graduated from the public schools of the city, and in 1876 from Goldsmith's Business University, located in Detroit.[1]

He went into the meat-market business with his uncle Thomas Barlum, became a partner with Barlum in 1880, and set off on his own in 1882.[1] In 1887 he married Nellie Hymes; the couple had nine children:[1] Mary (born 1888), Kathleen (1889), Irene (1891), William Grover (1892), Francis Leo (1895), Helen M. (1897), Edna L. (1899), Edith R. (1905), and Virginia M. (1909).[2]


William Barlum Thompson was a Democrat,[3] and served as an alderman for two terms, from 1891-1894, but declined to run for a third term.[1] However, by popular demand, he ran again in 1896 and was re-elected.[1] In 1897, he was elected city treasurer and resigned his seat as an alderman.[1] He served as treasurer for nine years.[3]

He was elected mayor twice, serving in 1907-1908 and again in 1911-1912.

Later life

Thompson went into partnership with his cousin John J. Barlum, forming the Cadillac Square Improvement Company.[4] The company constructed a number of buildings around Cadillac Square, including the Barlum Tower (now Cadillac Tower), the Barlum Hotel (now New Cadillac Square Apartments), and the Lawyers Building.[5]

William Barlum Thompson died in Detroit on February 12, 1941.[6]


  1. The government of the city of Detroit and Wayne County, Michigan: 1701 to 1907, historical and biographical, 1907, pp. 52–55
  2. "Thompson Archive". Rootsweb. Retrieved November 2, 2010.
  4. "History: New Cadillac Square". The New Cadillac Square Apartments. Retrieved November 2, 2010.
  5. Ren Farley. "Cadillac Tower/Barlum Tower". Detroit1701.org. Retrieved November 2, 2010.
  6. "WILLIAM B THOMPSON". New York Times. Feb 13, 1941.
Political offices
Preceded by
George P. Codd
Mayor of Detroit
Succeeded by
Philip Breitmeyer
Preceded by
Philip Breitmeyer
Mayor of Detroit
Succeeded by
Oscar Marx
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