On This Day in History, January 18: Low Makes It To High Places

January 18, 2012 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Seth Low was born in Brooklyn on Jan. 18, 1850. He was the only man to have served both as mayor of Brooklyn and as mayor of New York City. 
 
His father was the wealthy tea and silk merchant A. A. Low, who owned the home at 3 Pierrepont Pl. in Brooklyn Heights, which overlooks the harbor. (The large Victorian home is generally considered one of the most elegant and impressive residential buildings in all of Brooklyn.) 
 
Seth Low attended the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute and Columbia College. For a time he took over his father’s business before becoming interested in civic affairs. In 1878 he became the first president of the Brooklyn Bureau of Charities.
 
From 1881 to 1885 Seth Low served as mayor of Brooklyn, which, of course, was still an autonomous city at the time. In 1902, he was elected mayor of consolidated New York City — only the second mayor to reign over all five boroughs. (New York City was consolidated in 1898).
 
Between his mayorships, Low served as President of Columbia University. It was during his tenure that the university moved from downtown to its current location in Morningside Heights. 
 
In 1899 he served as a delegate for the Unites States to an international peace conference at The Hague.
 
In his later years, Low was a prominent arbitrator in labor disputes and helped to settle a coal strike in Colorado. He also served as chairman of the Executive Committee for the Tuskegee Institute.
 
Seth Low died on Sept. 17. 1916.  

 — P. Neidl


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