A Salute to White-Collar “Driving Lady” Nancy M. Graham: West Palm Beach’s Centennial Square Renamed in Her Honor

As the City of West Palm Beach, Florida, celebrates its 100th anniversary, there could be no more fitting sign of admiration than the renaming of a prominent public square to Nancy M. Graham Centennial Square. Graham was a white-collar “driving lady” — a dedicated civil servant who served City Hall for over 35 years. She also captured the hearts of the citizens in the decades following her death. When Graham began her career with the City of West Palm Beach in 1923, she was assigned to the Office of the City Manager – the equivalent of today’s Chief Administrative Officer. It was the only post available to the “driving lady” at the time. In 1927, the City Manager post was abolished, and Graham was appointed as the first female chauffeur of the City Hall fleet. This role was usually filled by men in the 1920s, but Graham proved to be a natural. In her 22 years of service, she drove numerous city officials, including mayors, commissioners, and governors. Visit this link for more information.

Not content to only provide exceptional chauffeur service, Graham also mastered the fine details of work in city government. As she excelled at the job, she earned respect from everyone who knew her. Over the years, she became an informal mentor to those who sought her advice. Graham’s dedication to the City of West Palm Beach was so great that when she retired in 1949, she had served the City for more than 35 years. At her retirement celebration, Mayor Edwin Newman praised Graham for her service, calling her an “inspiration to us all.” In 1954, Graham passed away at the age of 55. By all accounts, her life was a lesson in selflessness. Though her death was a great loss, the memory of her hard work and dedication to the City of West Palm Beach lives on in the citizens who knew and admired her. Read about Escape to Fun and Adventure with West Palm Beach Escape Rooms here.


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