Leopold David, Jewish Civil Servant & the First Mayor of Anchorage

Leopold David

Leopold David, First Mayor of Anchorage, Alaska.

Leopold David, First Mayor of Anchorage, Alaska.

Values Codes: I-E-L


Leopold David was born, in 1881, in Nordhausen, Germany.


Along the way

As a child, David’s parents brought him and his four siblings – Hannah, Clara, Martha and Max (d. 1901) – to America.

They settled in Brooklyn, New York and opened a soap factory.

In 1998, Leopold David joined the U.S. Army.

He and his brother, Max David, served in the Philippines, in 1901.



In 1904, Leopold David was reassigned to Fort Egbert, Alaska with the rank of Sergeant First Class.

During his army service, Leopold David worked as a pharmacist’s assistant.


In 1905, Leopold David went to Circle City, Alaska on a mission of mercy to help the Indians dealing with a diphtheria epidemic.

He received a Certificate of Merit for his service.

In 1905, Leopold David was discharged from the army.


He settled in Seward, Alaska and found work as a pharmacist at the Seward Drug Company.

His fellow townspeople called him “Dr. David.”


In 1909, Leopold David earned his law degree and passed the Washington State Bar.

In 1915, Leopold David went to Ship Creek, where he was the U.S. Commissioner and the District Recorder.

In 1921, David opened a private law practice with a partner, L.V. Ray.


Leopold David built his family’s home, in 1918.

It was located at 605 W. Second Avenue in Anchorage. 

This home has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places, since 1986.

Leopold David House Anchorage, Alaska

Leopold David House Anchorage, Alaska


In 1909, Leopold David served as Deputy U.S. Marshal in Susitna Station, Alaska.

From 1910-1921, David served as United States Commissioner of Knik, Alaska.

David also served as an ex-officio probate judge in Knik, as Head of the Chamber of Commerce and the Commercial Club.


In 1920, when the City of Anchorage was incorporated, Leopold David was appointed Mayor of Anchorage, by the City Council.

He served two terms – from 1920-1923.


After stepping down as Mayor, Leopold David served as a Regent for the University of Alaska.



Leopold David was a member of the Elks, Moose Lodge, Shriners, and Masons.



Leopold David married Anna Karasek (d.1971) in 1909.

They had two children: Caroline and Leopold Jr.

Anna David was the first librarian in Anchorage.


Leopold David died, in 1924.

He is buried in the Masonic section of the Anchorage Cemetery.



  • Eisenberg, Matthew J. “The Last Frontier: Jewish Pioneers in Alaska-Part III.” Western States Jewish History; 24(3).
  • David, Leopold and Anna. Alaska History. Retrieved 07 Dec. 2014 from http://www.alaskahistory.org/detail.aspx?ID=178.

Samantha Siver is Curator of this Leopold David Exhibit.

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