Cadwallader M Barr
Of Aspinwall, Cadwallader Barr was born, March 26, 1876, Parkers Landing, Armstrong County, the son of Winfield S., a Union officer during the Civil War, and Hannah R. (Emery) Barr. He was educated in public schools and Washington and Jefferson College; taught public school; entered the investment banking business, 1903; moved to Aspinwall; member of town council and school board; Captain, Construction Division, Quartermaster Corps, U.S. Army, WW I; elected to the Senate in November 1918, serving from 1919 through 1926. In 1925, Senator Barr introduced the first resolution for the state Senatorial academic scholarship.
A champion for public school reform, strong child labor laws, and political reform, C.M. joined Charles C. “Buck” McGovern as 1931 Independent Republican nominees for the Allegheny County Commission, the duo opposed by political state boss and state Senator John J. McClure (R-Del); McClure’s Allegheny Co. lieutenant, state Senator James J. Coyne (R-Allegheny), and aspiring Democratic party boss and future Governor David Leo Lawrence (Democrat). Barr and McGovern miraculously defeated the entire field, after one of the most chaotic and violent local elections in Pittsburgh history. While the Pittsburgh Sun Telegraph proclaimed, “(Republican and Democratic) Boss Rule Dead,” the cost of the election was a mob attack on the Independents led by organized crime; poll levy extortion; a scandal involving state Senator Coyne and Mayor Charles Kline (former state Senate pro tem); pervasive ballot fraud; a man killed in a poll bombing; the Democratic Party’s withdrawal of support for Lawrence; the beginning of the end of McClure’s reign as GOP state chair; and the deployment of dozens of state policemen to polling places, assigned to quell constant violent outbreaks.
Barr remained on the county commission, becoming a catalyst for the construction of Pittsburgh’s West End Bridge, now on the Register of National Historic Sites, and otherwise served as a lynchpin for many reforms leading to the Pittsburgh Renaissance. He retired from the County Commission in 1936 and from public life in 1948, still self-employed as the president of the investment banking business he started in 1903. He married the former Anna Mikiesel. Senator Barr passed away on November 28, 1960, interred in Homewood Cemetery.
Pittsburgh Sun-Telegram, November 4, 1931; Bio: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Pittsburgh Sun Telegram, October 24-Nov. 6, 1931; Obituary Post-Gazette and Sun Telegram, Nov. 29, 1960; East End Christian Church