William W. Rose has been practicing his profession as architect in the metropolitan district of Kansas City for thirty years. Without question he ranks as one of the ablest men both in the artistic and practical branches of his profession. Mr. Rose had also been prominently identified with civic affairs, and is well remembered as mayor of Kansas City, Kansas, during a very critical period of municipal affairs. He is now head of the architectural firm of Rose & Peterson, with offices in the Barker Building.
He was born at Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York, March 12, 1864, second of the three children of George Bruce and Charlotte N. (Warren) Rose. His father was a native of Jefferson County and his mother of St. Lawrence County, New York, the former born August 24, 1827, and the latter July 9, 1830. George B. Rose was of Scotch descent and spent forty years in the milling business, chiefly at Ogdensburg, New York. He died in 1887 and his wife in 1904. He was a republican, a member of the Masonic Order, and he and his wife were active in the Congregational Church.
William W. Rose had a good home environment as a boy and attended the common schools and the Ogdensburg University. His inclinations and early talents were in the direction of architecture, and he gained his first training with G. A. Schellinger at Ogdensburg. He afterwards went with Mr. Schellinger to New York City and remained in his office for about five years. With this thorough experience Mr. Rose entered independent practice in 1885 at Birmingham, Alabama, where he soon won three contracts in competition with leading architects of the state. Though this was a promising beginning, he was not entirely satisfied with the South as a professional location, and in 1886 came to Kansas City, Missouri, and for ten years was associated in practice with James Oliver Hogg. They maintained offices both in Kansas City, Missouri, and Kansas City, Kansas. In 1896 Mr. Rose withdrew from the firm, and since then had concentrated his time and attention on the business in Kansas City, Kansas. Since December, 1909, he had been associated in practice with David B. Peterson under the name Rose & Peterson.
In Kansas City and elsewhere many splendid buildings attest the architectural skill of Mr. Rose. He was architect of the City Hall, the Carnegie Library, the High School Building, the Masonic Temple and many of the finest homes of Kansas City, and had also drawn the plans for and supervised the construction of various public and private structures throughout the country.
Outside of his profession Mr. Rose had shown a practical energy and a common sense attitude towards public affairs which have won him a large and loyal following and had made him a leader properly credited with much of the material advancement of Kansas City, Kansas. In 1897 he was democratic nominee for the office of mayor. In the spring of 1905 he was elected mayor of the city by more than 800 votes over his opponent. While mayor Mr. Rose took practical steps in the campaign which eventually brought both the city waterworks and the city lighting plant under municipal ownership and operation. But the main feature of his administration was the problem of enforcing the state laws with regard to the restriction of the liquor traffic. These state laws had been practically violated in all preceding years. Kansas City, Kansas, had a “wide open town” in spite of the Kansas prohibitory laws. Mayor Rose’s contribution to the problem was his refusal to accept an office on the ambiguous and hypocritical principles of quietly conniving at conditions which he felt powerless to prevent. At the beginning of his term he announced his open decision not to atempt the enforcement of the law which if carried out would deprive the city of a large part of its revenues and at best effect only a partial restriction of the liquor traffic. The Kansas Supreme Court soon afterwards issued an injunction prohibiting Mr. Rose from serving as mayor. Three days before the injunction was served Mr. Rose resigned. He at once became a candidate for re-election despite the injunction. That he had the support of the majority of the citizens is proved by the fact that he was given 1,600 plurality over opposing candidates. Again he was enjoined by the Kansas Supreme Court from administering the office of mayor, but he presided over the city council and was fined $1,000 seemingly for having been re-elected. After serving as mayor, during 1906 and nine months in 1907, he resigned. A few months later he again became a candidate, but was defeated by less than 600 votes, due to the power and influence of the water company. Thus he was a candidate for the office three times himself and once by proxy in less than two years, and it is said for a parallel to his case it is necessary to go back more than 100 years to Edward Wright, a member of Farliament in England.
Mr. Rose was also nominated in a democratic convention at Lawrence as congressman for the Second District, but declined to make the race. He was unsuccessful candidate for state senator in 1916.
Mr. Rose and his firm have been architects for the Kansas City, Kansas, school board for many years. Throughout his career his course had been characterized by an ability to fight hard for whatever he believes to he right and for the best interests of the community. Fraternally he is a Scottish Rite Mason and a Shriner, is past master of Wyandotte Lodge No. 3, Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons, and belongs to Kansas City Lodge No. 440, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. In the Scottish Rite he was venerable master of the Lodge of Perfection. In 1912 Mr. Rose served as president and director of the Mercantile Club and had also been director of the Rotary Club.
He was married November 14, 1888, to Miss Clara D. Grandy. Mrs. Rose was born in St. Lawrence County, New York, daughter of John L. and Arvilla (Gibbs) Grandy. Mr. and Mrs. Rose have two children: Pauline, now Mrs. H. S. Gille, Jr., of Kansas City, Kansas: and Spencer G., who is pursuing architectural studies in Washington University at St. Louis.