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 five siblings – Hannah, Dora, Clara, Martha and Max (d. 1901) – to America.

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

In 1898, Leopold David joined the U.S. Army.

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



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

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

In 1905, Leopold David went to Circle City 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 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 asUnited 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, 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.



  • Matthew J. Eisenberg, “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.