Neighboring towns of Oak Park, River Forest and Maywood had organized formal governments, often sighted related to the temperance movement. Harlem, which was Forest Park’s original name, had saloons, a racetrack and hummed to a different tune than its neighbors.
In November of 1911 Forest Park adopted the commission form of government by a majority of more than 200 votes. The commission form of government is limited to cities or villages under 200,000 population. Voters elect a mayor and four commissioners who each serve the council. Each commissioner has a designated role as either commissioner of accounts and finances, pubic health and safety, streets and public improvements or public property. The mayor serves as commissioner of public affairs.
It was in spring of 1913 that the first Forest Park Mayor and Commissioner election took place. Twenty-five petition signatures were needed to be on the ballot. Henry J. Mohr, who was the head of the local government at the time, and owner of the H.J. Mohr & Sons concrete and building supply company located at Garfield and Harlem in Oak Park, was elected mayor with 648 votes. The next top vote getter was Henrich Kaul, a German Publisher, with 402 votes. Kaul, a better government candidate, was opposed to gambling and “kindred diversions for which Forest Park has long been famous.”
Kaul eventually did become mayor in 1919 and again in 1923. H.J. Mohr, was the grandfather of Mayor/Senator Howard Mohr.