Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Cobo, Albert

Detroit Mayor Albert Eugene Cobo was born in Detroit on October 2, 1893. While he attended night school to study business administration and accounting, he opened and ran two candy stores in the city. Upon finishing his studies, he sold the stores and began work at Burroughs Corporation, where he was eventually promoted to an executive position.

In 1933, Burroughs “loaned” Cobo to the city to help out during a financial crisis, but he never returned to the company. In July 1935, he was elected Detroit treasurer, where he served seven terms before running for mayor in 1949. Cobo was mayor at the city’s population peak of 1.8 million people in 1950. Much of downtown Detroit’s development, including the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center, the Spirit of Detroit statue, and the expansion of the expressway system took place at this time. He was criticized for urban renewal projects that razed Black neighborhoods, police targeting Black communities, and supporting the city’s housing segregation policy. These policies would play a part in leading to the Uprising of 1967. Cobo served three terms as Mayor of Detroit and served as president of the American Municipal Association. In 1956, he ran unsuccessfully for Governor of Michigan.

Cobo died on September 12, 1957, just a few months before his last term in office was to end. He is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Detroit. The Cobo Center in downtown Detroit was named in his honor after his passing. On August 27, 2019, the Center was renamed the TCF Center, after TCF Bank purchased the naming rights from the city.



Photograph of Albert Cobo, 1950s

Cobo for Governor postcard, 1956 – 2019.075.016

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