Fifty years ago this month, Edward A. Hanna became Utica's irreverent, outlandish Mayor, sending shockwaves through the city and grabbing the attention of national media like no modern-day local figure had ever done.

Hanna was a businessman and even an inventor, making millions of dollars off a photographic developing process he created that was purchased by Kodak. He was a World War II Purple Heart recipient after being shot as a U.S. Marine in Guam, he was appointed by New York's Governor in 1955 to the Central New York State Parks Commission, became a NYS Assemblyman, and even unsuccessfully ran for the United States Senate. But, he was never more popular than when he was at the helm at Utica City Hall.

Watch Hanna on 60 Minutes, CBS below.

Hanna appeared on CBS's 60 Minutes showing the world how terrible the city of Utica was, pointing out garbage thrown on busy sidewalks.Hanna was featured dozens of times in articles in The New York Times, and was even featured in a spotlight piece in the pornographic magazine, Penthouse.

Once he became mayor in 1974, he removed the door from his office in Utica City Hall as a symbol of transparency, fired city workers, argued with the newspapers in town, the police department, public works department, fire department, and even workers at city hall, who he claimed were abusing the telephone by making long-distance personal calls and using the city's stamp machine for personal mail. At one point, Hanna ordered the stamp machine to be placed in his office and all outgoing mail stacked on his desk unopened so he could inspect it before it went off to the post office. Needless to say, former employees say at that time in Hanna's tenure, outgoing mail from City Hall quickly became backed up.

It's True: He Changed a 9 Year Old's Age with the Stroke of a Pen

In a New York Times story dated August 20, 1976, Hanna literally changed the age of a young 9 year old girl to 16, so she could legally sell popcorn at a city-operated snack stand. The city comptroller would reject the age-change, stating a city employee had to actually be 16 years of age in order to work.

UTICA, N.Y., Aug. 20 (AP) —Mayor Edward Hanna of Utica, believing “idle hands are the devil's workshop,” turned 9‐year‐old Thira Huffman into a teen‐ager with a stroke of his pen.

After She applied for a job, Mayor Hanna issued an official proclamation declaring pre‐teen youngsters 16 years old so they could work for the city.

But the City Comptroller's office says the youngsters must be actually 16 years old and it dismissed Miss Huffman from her job of selling popcorn and soft drinks in Edward A. Hanna City park, named for the Mayor.

The youngster said she had told the Mayor her age when she applied for the job. Mr. Hanna said he thought she was a bit older, but, in any, event, made her 16 by proclamation. That is the age one must be in order to obtain working papers.

Hanna served as Utica's mayor from 1974 until 1978, and then again from 1996 until 2000, when he resigned citing health problems. The fact is, a young male employee of the city had made sexual allegations against the long-time mayor, and he left the job abruptly. The city settled with the former employee for $250,000 and Hanna contributed $75,000 towards legal fees.

Despite the controversy, Hanna is responsible for a great deal in Utica including Hanna Park, Nurses Park, the Tower of Hope in honor of Bob Hope, the Liberty Bell replica, the archway at the Boilermaker finish line, and so much more. Even the Guinness record World's Largest Watering Can - which is now on display at the Utica Zoo, came from Ed Hanna. The watering can arrived on a giant flat bed truck in Utica after Hanna had left office. New Mayor Tim Julian had no idea what Hanna's plan was for the oversized watering can, so it was eventually donated to the Zoo.

A giant watering can constructed of galvanised steel was constructed for Utica Zoo, New York, USA. It weighs 907.1 kg (2000 lb) and measures 4.7 m (15.5 ft) high with a diameter of 3.65 m (12 ft). It arrived at the zoo by truck on 5 December 2000. -Guinness Book of World Records

Hanna died on March 3, 2009 at his home in Fayetteville, NY and is buried at Calvary Cemetery in Utica.

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