Mayor Willard E. Fraser (1907-1972)
Willard E. Fraser mayoral papers (1963-1969 & 1971-1972) contain the alphabetized file folders, letters, political campaigns, proclamations, memos, and his correspondence. Mayoral papers of Howard Hultgren (1969-1971) and Thompson T. Rowe (1949-1953) are also contained within this collection.
Willard E. Fraser was Mayor from 1963-1969 and 1971-1972, and he was mayor of Billings for six terms. He was one of the most popular and most colorful mayors Billings has ever had. He died in office of a heart attack on September 21, 1972.
Fraser was described as a “dreamer, clown and politician extraordinary,” a man who biked to work wearing a Panama hat and white suit, sometimes presided over city council meetings in a sweatshirt, and loved sirens and flashing lights.
Fraser was also a visionary who loved Billings and its people – and the people returned that affection. Among his dreams: a tunnel through the Rims to ease traffic problems in the Heights; a large manmade lake where Billings residents could fish, sail and swim, and a tram car from the airport to downtown hotels. In 1999, a bridge on the bike path near Two Moon Park in the Heights was named the Willard Fraser Memorial Bridge in his honor. (Stevens, K.D. & Redman, D.A. (2000). Billings A to Z. Montana: Fenske Companies.)