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1874 Dr. Philander D. Sims

PD Sims 1873(Lived October 22, 1828 - November 8, 1920)

Philander Sims completed medical school at the University of Nashville in 1856 and immediately moved to Chattanooga to begin a medical practice. Dr. Sims is noted in many historical accounts of rendering great service to wounded soldiers, both Union and Confederate, following the Battles for Chattanooga. Throughout the war, Dr. Sims’s office building on Market Street served as the Union Army’s Provost Marshall’s office.    

In the first election in which Confederate Veterans were allowed to vote, long-time Chattanooga doctor Philander Sims won the mayoral race.  Dr. Sims took the oath of office on November 24, 1873 and took charge of a city facing financial crisis.  Mayor Sims appointed a finance committee to examine the city’s financial situation and to propose what actions could be taken to improve the city’s position.  The committee recommended that the Mayor and Board of Aldermen drastically cut spending and find a way to maintain the city on no more than $2500 a month.  This plan was not adopted, but the Mayor and alderman did resolve to have city officials be more diligent in the collection of taxes.  However, the Mayor and Alderman did not seem to worry about the city’s weak finances for long, as they spent $26, 714.00 on street repairs and left the city with a $21,400 deficit.

Mayor Sims returned to medical practice and was involved in the care of the residents during the yellow fever epidemic of 1878.

Photo by Phillip Stevens and Matt Lea