William M. Burns

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William M. Burns (1878-1953) was a local physician and third mayor of the City of North Little Rock, Arkansas.

William Burns was born on February 4, 1878, in Gadsden, Tennessee. He moved with his family to Vilonia, Arkansas, at around three years of age. He received medical training in the Medical Department of the University of Arkansas and received a county license to practice in 1899. In 1912 Burns moved his office to North Little Rock. In 1914 he was awarded a formal medical degree from the university. He is said to have delivered eight thousand babies over his career, and made numerous house calls during the 1918-1919 Spanish influenza outbreak.

Burns was elected mayor for the first time in April 1919, and served terms from 1919 to 1920 and again from 1925-1936. While mayor he accomplished the routing of a drinking water supply line over the Broadway Bridge. He served thirty-seven years on the North Little Rock School Board, and was chiefly responsible for the siting of North Little Rock Old Main High School.

Burns died in 1953 of an apparent heart attack. Burns Park is today named for the mayor, as was Burns Elementary School (now renamed Belwood Elementary).


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