Advertisement

Haydon Burns; Former Florida Governor, Jacksonville Mayor

November 25, 1987|From Times Wire Services

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Former Gov. Haydon Burns, who won a special two-year term in 1964 by opposing civil rights legislation, has died at a nursing home. He was 75 and the cause of his death Sunday was not reported.

Burns won election to the shortened term after 15 years as Jacksonville mayor. He was the first mayor of an American city not in the top 10 in population to be president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Burns had been a popular mayor among Jacksonville blacks but they turned against him after the city sold its golf courses and closed its swimming pools rather than accede to federal court integration orders.

Normally, Florida's governor serves for four years, but the term was shortened to ensure that the Florida gubernatorial elections would not fall in the same years as presidential races.

He lost a bid for reelection in 1966 in a bitterly contested Democratic primary against Miami Mayor Robert King High. High went on to lose the general election to Claude Kirk, the first Republican governor in 94 years.

It was during Burns' term that Walt Disney decided to locate Disney World in Orlando, a move that helped ensure Florida's strength as a tourist spot.

"Gov. Burns is a man who knows how to get things done," Disney said at the time.

Burns also helped establish the state Board of Regents for the state university system and helped create the University of West Florida in Pensacola, Florida Tech in Orlando and the College of Law at Florida State University in Tallahassee.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|