Nancy O’Brien

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Nancy O’Brien (b. 1936) was the first female mayor of Charlottesville, serving from 1976-1978.[1]

After moving to Charlottesville, she joined the Women's League of Voters and was appointed Treasurer. She was also later appointed Chair of the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission by Charlottesville City Council. In 1976, she was elected mayor. During her term, O’Brien advocated for a less siloed local government and increased citizen participation. She campaigned against Meadowcreek Parkway, now known as the John Warner Parkway, and successfully delayed its construction for decades. She also pushed for Fashion Square Mall to be constructed in Albemarle County instead of in the city. Through her political work, O’Brien met former mayor Francis Fife, who would eventually become her second husband. While mayor, O’Brien also met Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip of England.

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  1. Branigan, Michelle Marie (December 1998). A Biography of Frances Brand, an American Painter and Social Activist (PhD). Indiana University.

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