Biography of Hon. Frank P. Foster
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HON. FRANK P. FOSTER. Anderson’s present mayor. has been one of the city’s most progressive and loyal citizens since locating here in 1879. Neither as a citizen nor as a representative in the lower branch of the State Legislature, at home or abroad, has he ever let a fitting opportunity pass to add his mite to the sum total of praise in favor of Anderson as a busy, enterprising city. A native of Orange County, Indiana, after receiving a common and high school education, he took a four years’ course at the Indiana State University, from which he graduated in 1879, and immediately afterward located and began the study of law in Anderson. Recognizing his ability and integrity, the Democratic party nominated and elected him as representative to the State Legislature from Madison County in 1887, honoring him also with a second term in 1889. Although a young man, he took an active part in the shaping of legislation at that time, and was instrumental in procuring what were then some of the pioneer laws of the state, but which have proven to be most wholesome, for instance the Australian Ballot law and the School Book law.
While he has always acted in the support of its principles, Mr. Foster is not a partisan to the extent of being offensive to those who may hold contrary views as to men and measures of his party. This has incidental proof from the fact that in his race for the mayoralty he received the largest plurality ever given to any candidate for that office in the city of Anderson. He is thoroughly independent in every relation of life and follows the leadership of no men or set of men against his better judgment. This well-known characteristic, with his unquestioned reputation for personal honor, has contributed largely to his success at the bar and in politics. Mr. Foster for many years has been, and now is, the president of the Madison County Bar Association. He was city attorney for six years, and discharged the duties of that office with rare ability. He became mayor of Anderson in January, 1910, and is now in the last year of his service in this high position. It is, perhaps, a little early to sum up the ‘work of his administration, and yet enough has already been done to warrant the statement that it is one which will loom, when completed, with distinct achievements.
When Mayor Foster took office, the city was full of “blind tigers,” while there were continual and repeated violations in the sale of liquors. Gambling, prostitution, open dance halls and prize fights were indulged to a degree offensive to all good citizens. These have been abated, while the saloons which operate under the laws are required to strictly observe the laws. Vice and crime have both been curbed to a minimum in Anderson.
The economical and efficient service of the several city departments cannot be enumerated within the confines assigned to this all too brief sketch. But the virtues of Mayor Foster’s administration may be generally comprehended in the truthful affirmation that while the price of commodities produced by the plants controlled by the city have cheapened to the consumer, while taxes have been lowered, while great and valuable areas have been purchased for park lands, including the Anderson Fair Grounds, and public drinking fountains and other helps to the public good have been installed, the public debt, with its heavy burden of interest and embarrassment, has constantly decreased, so that although that debt at the beginning of Mayor Foster’s term was $228,000.00, it is now but $50,000.00, and before he leaves the chief executive’s chair will have been wiped absolutely off the account. Also the tax rate which at the beginning of his term was $1.10 on the hundred dollars of assessable property will at its close be but 70 cents.