Who is The Mayor of Wallingford?

Last week, reader s banarian sent us this interesting e-mail:

Around 1981-83, there used to be a guy who’d take his place right outside the door to the Food Giant – he’d refer to himself as the “Mayor of Wallingford” and he was a repository of the things going on in the area.
who was he really?
what happened to him?

So, we asked our resident historian, Paul Dorpat, who gave us this thoughtful response:

Since Wallingford has never been a class-anything incorporated municipality on its own it has never had a mayor.  There have however been a few persons who, because of their wisdom or activism and often capacity for their conversational skills, have received the name “Mayor of Wallingford.”  One of these is Mayor Doug Wilson.  This Mayor is also an electrician, is married to Helen (a lawyer who probably gives him advice in many matters) and has two children, both of whom have grown up and left the nest.  Hope this helps.

It did, Paul, it did!  But when we e-mailed Doug, his response was that he’s known as “Mr. Wallingford” and as such, he has not been elected as Mayor.  So this left us to investigate further–and so far, all we’ve come up with is:

Oddly enough, those are two different Janets!  So now we ask you, dear reader, if you have any knowledge of the Mayor of Wallingford you’d care to impart.  We know we’ve got some neighbors who’ve been here for 30 years and more, as evidenced by our wonderful stroll down memory lane in the comments of our real estate post last week, so help us rediscover our esteemed Mayor of Wallingford!

  1. Angele Hunskor said,

    Our family has long called our neighbor, Bruce Reeder, the Mayor of Wallingford. He knows everyone and I mean, everyone and can be found walking his two dogs, Wizard and Raven, at all hours of the day. He’s never without his baseball hat and shorts (even in the winter). The barista’s all know him by name, shop keepers wave when he walks by and children cross the road to stop and chat with him. Definitely the Mayor!

    Tue, January 11 at 12:58 pm
  2. SeattleAlan said,

    Bruce sounds like the ideal candidate!

    Tue, January 11 at 2:06 pm
  3. Margaret said,

    Next time you see him around, tell him Wallyhood would love to interview him! He can write us at [email protected]

    Tue, January 11 at 2:14 pm
  4. Sally said,

    When I saw the title of this thread, I interpreted it as a call for nominations. “Paul Dorpat!” I thought immediately, before reading on. :)

    Tue, January 11 at 6:40 pm
  5. Margaret said,

    @Sally, he could be in the running! You know, that might be an option, too! Who could we nominate to be the Mayor? Paul, Bruce…anyone else?

    Tue, January 11 at 8:32 pm
  6. Chris Witwer said,

    Well, Mr. Wallyhood, of course!

    Tue, January 11 at 8:41 pm
  7. Sally said,

    There could be at least 2 positions, since we’re in charge: Titular Mayor of Wallingford, Wallingford Mayor-in-Waiting, WallyMayor …

    Tue, January 11 at 8:52 pm
  8. Margaret said,

    I picture the float coming down 45th during the Kiddie Parade, with all of the candidates doing the royal wave.

    I love it! Let’s get a ballot going!

    Tue, January 11 at 8:58 pm
  9. Sally said,

    And a position for Nancy Merrill Appleseed, with or without costume beard!

    Tue, January 11 at 10:29 pm
  10. Janet Stillman said,

    Hello Neighbors! While I appreciate the nomination as “Mayor of Wallingford”, I don’t think it’s me. We could have an election, and if we did I would vote with Sally for Paul Dorpat. But Wallingford is more like a representative democracy, with many movers and shakers, than a hierarchy with a Mayor. That’s what I love about this place. People here don’t wait around for “someone” to fix things. They – we – all wade right in and make it happen. I’m happy being a Wallingford facilitator and cheerleader. I love you all. Janet Stillman

    Wed, January 12 at 9:40 am
  11. Margaret said,

    Janet, this is why you’re known as The First Lady! You’re top notch!

    Wed, January 12 at 10:05 am
  12. jennAdane said,

    I think the person you are referring to is named Emmit Brown. He has been around since at least the mid-sixties. In the early 80’s he was at Food Giant with all the local info, he worked at the Boys and Girls Club back in the 70’s and he still walks 45th st. If you go to either the Chevron on 45th ( & woodlawn? ) , or down the other end of 45th at the sea monster lounge you can ask for him by name: the Mayor of Wallingford! He is a living time capsule of the neighborhood’s history. He lives around 47th and Woodland I believe. hope this helps! :-)

    Thu, January 13 at 3:30 pm
  13. jennAdane said,

    PS. I know this guy wold love to talk to y’all.

    Thu, January 13 at 3:36 pm
  14. Kara said,

    fun to see who these folks are, and what they think about being referred to as a mayor!
    seriously, though, a “mayor” is more one who is an ambassador, who knows the people, the businesses, the community and its organizations. Janet is absolutely one of those, as are many others of us who toil (often loooooong hours, usually thanklessly) with the big community groups here like the Chamber, the Community Council, Sustainable Wallingford, the Neighborhood Office Association.
    Janet told me the other day that as Mayor she wanted me to be Deputy Mayor…. and boy, am i honored!
    btw, all of us community activists and groups would love more involvement from you the community – please come to any of our meetings or come talk to us. it isn’t as easy as you may think, but is waaaaaay easier with more people involved.

    Sat, January 22 at 12:56 pm
  15. Andrew said,

    Emmit Brown live across the street from me! He came up and introduced himself to me while I was unloading my moving van! He is always up for a chat if you encounter him on one of his many neighborhood walkabouts.

    Sun, February 6 at 12:55 am
  16. kolokolo said,

    There are many who coem to mind.
    I consider Kara and John, owners of Not a Number, leaders of wallingford. Their tireless and energetic neighborhood and community development endeavors and behind the scenes work have benefitted us all in many ways.

    Sun, February 6 at 7:15 am
  17. Sue Lyons said,

    The Official Mayor of Wallingford back in the 80’s was Victor Lygdman, ex member of the Wallingford Comm. Council along with Vince Lyons, Roger Pence, Les Tonkin, and so on. He was an artist, storyteller, political fiend, helped start the Fremont Food Bank, Good Samaritan Act and Recycling efforts. He was a friend to kiddies, and animals, acted as Santa Claus at the council meetings and died last February with Vince and Sue Lyons at his side. Paul Dorpat has quite a number of his photographs and memorabilia in his care now and we may sponsor a memorial open house for him at the Good Shepherd Center, where his artworks could be admired and perhaps sold for support of the Food Bank or Senior Center.

    Wed, February 16 at 10:18 pm
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