CWRU Links

BYERS, EDGAR S.

BYERS, EDGAR S. (10 Apr. 1876-21 Feb. 1963), an attorney and outspoken liberal, was born in Sharpsville, Pa.to Orsamus and Elizabeth Mitchell Byers. He came to Cleveland at 10, graduated from Western Reserve University Law School, and in 1901 formed a law partnership with CARL D. FRIEBOLIN which lasted until 1947. In 1915, Byers joined the City Club, and with JACK RAPER, Ed Doty, PETER WITT, and others formed the Soviet Table, a lunch group whose name exaggerated its members' liberal views. Byers spoke for the table, protesting proposals he thought were contrary to the public interest. He directed the City Club from 1927-30. In 1924, Byers managed Sen. Robt. La Follette's area presidential Progressive party campaign, carrying the county by 10,000 votes while spending only $10,000.

Byers protested the original plans for the Main Ave. Bridge, Municipal Stadium, and many other civic projects. Byers and the Soviet Table were criticized by CITIZENS LEAGUE director MAYO FESLER after successfully campaigning to eliminate Cleveland's CITY MANAGER PLAN of government. Byers objected to city manager WM. HOPKINS's use of authority and many of his land purchases, including the site that later became CLEVELAND HOPKINS INTERNATL. AIRPORT. Byers also opposed construction of Union Terminal, the claim of railways to lakefront public property, and the 1942 sale of the CLEVELAND RAILWAY CO. to the city, believing private interests were benefiting from publicly owned resources. Byers also opposed tax writeoffs for industrial facilities and tax credits on security dividends. Byers married Birja Wilkins in 1902 and had 3 daughters: Elizabeth, Nancy, and Barbara. Byers died in Cleveland and was buried at LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.