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Joseph M. Barr

In office
January 2, 1959 – January 2, 1970
Preceded by Thomas Gallagher
Succeeded by Peter F. Flaherty

Member of the Pennsylvania Senate
from the 43rd district
In office
January, 1941 – November 30, 1960
Preceded by Thomas E. Kilgallen
Succeeded by John H. Devlin

Born May 28, 1906(1906-05-28)
Died August 26, 1982 (aged 76)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Political party Democratic

Joseph M. Barr (May 28, 1906 – August 26, 1982) served as Mayor of Pittsburgh from 1959 to 1970.

Early life

Barr was born in Pittsburgh to a large family. He started his career as a salesman in the city. In 1940 he became the state's youngest state senator serving the region in Harrisburg. His career in Harrisburg roughly coincided with David L. Lawrence's reign as Pittsburgh mayor. He was instrumental in being Pittsburgh's advocate and used his tenure to push through many of the local reforms needing state help.

Pittsburgh politics

In 1959 Barr the consummate Harrisburg insider and Lawrence the seasoned Pittsburgh chief swapped roles, with Barr coming "home" and running for Mayor and Lawrence becoming Governor of Pennsylvania. He was instrumental as mayor in completing many of the Lawrence programs, while at the same time having the city's infrastructure catch up to all the progress that Lawrence instituted. Expanded and modernized street lights, water services and the stadiums were all hallmarks of Barr's leadership. He oversaw the completion of both Three Rivers Stadium and the Pittsburgh Civic Arena, both having bogged down in heated political disputes during Lawrence's tenure.

As a well-connected leader of the Commonwealth, Barr was among the founders of the Finnegan Foundation memorializing Pennsylvania Secretary of State James A. Finnegan.

Later life

Mayor Barr left public life after 1970 and died on August 26, 1982. He is buried in Pittsburgh's St. Mary Cemetery.

Political offices
Preceded by
Thomas Gallagher
Mayor of Pittsburgh
Succeeded by
Peter F. Flaherty
Pennsylvania State Senate
Preceded by
Thomas E. Kilgallen
Member of the Pennsylvania Senate for the 43rd District
Succeeded by
John H. Devlin


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