Whatever has challenged Midland's councilmen, mayors, commissioners and county judges that represent the two governments in our modern times, those issues likely wouldn't hold a candle to what happened 100 years ago, when Midland County commissioners voted outright to dissolve the city's government. That county-mandated dissolution came after three mayors had served the city, sometime after the city's initial establishment in 1906. According to the centennial edition of the Midland Reporter-Telegram, published in 1985, no reason could be found as to why the county commissioners took it upon themselves to disband the city.
On March 3, 1911, the city again incorporated, led by its second first mayor, J.M. Caldwell.
According to Reporter-Telegram published accounts, "The commissioners court continued to be the ruling force in Midland even after the incorporation of Midland as a city in 1906. The infant city had only three mayors, S.J. Isaacs, A.C. Parker and J.H. Haley, when the court dissolved the incorporation. No reason is given on the record.
"On March 3, 1911, Midland was again incorporated and elected as its second "first mayor," J.M. Caldwell, who was sworn into office by County Judge J.H. Knowles.
As monumental as the formation of a city would seem to be, council members apparently did not give pause to party after the reformation of the city. According to the March 3, 1911 Midland Reporter, "The first city election, under the new incorporation, held Monday, was devoid of any unusual excitement, the voters going quietly to the polls and casting their votes for their choice of candidates.
"While there was no excitement," the article continued, "there was much interest, as there were contests for two of the offices: the mayoralty and the marshalship. There were also six names submitted for alderman and only five to be elected. This brought an element of uncertainty to this part of the election."
The paper's editor paid tribute to those who took on the responsibility of guiding the new city by saying, "This is a splendid body of men to direct the affairs of the city and we speak for them the cooperation of all our citizens. There is much to be done and it can be done to the satisfaction of all, if all of us give our hearty support to the administration."
The first vote taken by the new city fathers? The purchase of five new street lights, at a cost of $2.60 apiece. The first meeting would also include the appointing of a city scavenger, plans for a fire station and the naming of John B. Thomas as city health officer. Thomas, who would build the city's first "skyscraper" (still standing today, east across Loraine St. from the Midland Hilton), is considered by some to be the father of Midland Memorial Hospital.
While the city's re-incorporation came 100 years ago this week, official records still reflect the city was actually founded in the Summer of 1885 -- when the county was formed, a commissioner court was named, the first churches were organized, the first newspaper published -- and the first arrest, for loud and abusive behavior, was recorded.
Although the city government may turn 100 this week, the city of Midland actually turns 126 years old in 2011.
Happy Birthday, Midland.