Herman Nathan Myers
|Death:||Died in Savannah, Chatham, Georgia, United States|
|Place of Burial:||Savannah, Chatham, Georgia, United States|
|Managed by:||Private User|
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About Herman Nathan Myers
Herman Myers was born on January 18, 1847 in Bavaria, Germany to Sigmund and Fannie Myers. As a child, he immigrated with his parents to Bath County, Virginia. He apprenticed under his father and learned the tanner’s trade. After his father’s death in 1861, the family moved to Lynchburg, Virginia and then to Savannah, Georgia in 1867.
In Savannah, Herman and his brothers, Sigo and Fred, began a cigar and tobacco business and owned the firm of H. Myers and Brothers, dealers in wool. Myers became president of his El Modelo Cigar Manufacturing Company of Tampa, which later merged into the Cuban-American Cigar Manufacturing Company of Tampa and Havana. He was one of the organizers and president of the Savannah Grocery Company, a wholesale firm. By 1909, the three brothers’ combined assets were worth over one million dollars.
Myers was involved with several banking establishments including: as one of the organizers of the National Bank of Savannah in 1885; president of the National Bank from incorporation until his death in 1909; and as vice-president of the Oglethorpe Savings and Trust Company starting in 1886 and president in 1909. He was a promoter and organizer of the South Bound Railroad Company, and an officer in the Savannah and Tybee Railroad and the Tybee Hotel Company.
Herman Myers entered politics in 1885 as an alderman. He served continuously on City Council for ten years, sitting on the Finance, Police, Water, and Assessment, Market, Harbor and Wharves, and Special Railroad committees. He 1895, he ran for Mayor against Dr. William Duncan and won. After one term, he lost re-election to Peter W. Meldrim. In 1899, he returned to the office, defeating John J. McDonough. In the 1901, 1903, and 1905 mayoral elections, Myers was re-elected without opposition. After ten years as Mayor, poor health forced him to withdraw from participation in municipal affairs.
Myers’ crowning achievement was the erection of the City Hall, replacing the old City Exchange building, under his administration. Myers was the last Mayor to serve in the City Exchange before it was torn down, and the first to serve in the new City Hall when it was occupied in December 1905.
His administration has been marked by the greatest public improvements in the history of Savannah, . . . in the eyes of many his chief movement, a magnificent new City Hall was erected which is the finest south of Richmond, Virginia, its cost with furnishings, approaching $300,000 and built out of the regular revenues of the city, without issuing a single obligation and without the slightest increase in taxes.
In September 1906, Myers married Virginia Gluckenheim of Danville, Virginia. In 1908, he went to Europe and visited his birthplace in Germany in an effort to restore his health. On the evening of March 24, 1909, at the age of 62, Myers died in his De Soto Hotel apartment. The following day, an escort of eight mounted policemen escorted his body from the De Soto Hotel to City Hall where his body laid in state for twenty-four hours. His casket was placed at the southern end of the Council Chambers beneath his life-sized portrait. Police guarded the site throughout the night as the public paid their respects. Thousands of persons from every walk in life and all ages went to the City Hall to get a last look at the man who in life did so much for Savannah.
Current Mayor Tiedeman issued a proclamation requesting retail merchants to close between three and four o’clock in the afternoon during the funeral on March 26th. Flags were flown at half mast, and both City Hall and the National Bank building were draped in mourning. During the afternoon of March 26th, Myers remains were transported to Congregation Mickve Israel’s synagogue on Monterey Square where Rabbi George Solomon presided over his funeral. From there, a funeral cortege left the synagogue and took Myers to Bonaventure Cemetery in “one of the largest processionals of the type ever seen in Savannah with a military escort by the detachment of the Savannah Guards and the entire command of the German volunteers.” Myers was laid to rest, in a burial service conducted by the Ancient Landmark Mason Lodge No. 231, below a granite monument.
Sources Bonaventure Historical Society, Vol. 6, No. 6. (September/October 2000). Biography File: Herman Myers. Savannah Jewish Archives, Savannah, Georgia. “In Memoriam: Herman Myers.” Savannah Morning News (18 April 1909), 2:1. Prepared by Luciana M. Spracher, Bricks and Bones Historical Research for the City of Savannah, Georgia, Research Library and Municipal Archives.