ONE of the best-known citizens of New York who has served it in many public capacities, but especially well known in the maritime world, not only in that city but everywhere as one of the most distinguished naval architects and shipbuilders, is Lewis Nixon, now serving as Public Service Commissioner under ap-pointment of Governor Smith.
Levis Xixon was born in Leesburg, Virginia, in i36i. The son of Colonel Joel Lewis and Mary Jane (Turner) Nixon. After preparatory education at Leesburg Academy, he was appointed to the United States. Naval Academy, from which he was graduated No. I with the Class of 1882, and commissioned as midshipman. He had distinguished himself by high efficiency in the study of ship design, and in 1884 he was transferred from the line of the Navy to the Construction Corps, in which he made rapid progress. Having designed the battleships "Orego n," 'Massachusetts" and "Indiana," he resigned rrom the Navy in 1890 to become Superintendent Constructor in Cramp's Shipyard in Philadelphia, then the
foremost shipbuilding plant in the United States. He opened the Crescent Shipyard, Elizabeth,
in 1895 on his own account, and became
rne ot the leading figures in the building of the New Navy, building vessels for all departments of the United States Government, including eleven men-of-war, many vessels for the Navies of Russia. Cuba and Santo Domingo, as well as vessels of all types for American and foreign owners, building 100 vessels in six years. He became president of the Standard Motor Construction Company, and in that connection built the "Gregory," which was the first motor-boat to cross the ocean. He also built the first submarine torpedo boat for the United States Navy. He established the Lewis Nixon Shipyard on Staten Island as its sole owner; he started in 1900 and was president until 1904 of the International Smokeless Powder Company, and is now sole owner and manager of the Nixon Nitration Works, New Brunswick, N. J.
He has long been prominent in political affairs, was delegate to the National Democratic Conventions of 1900, 1904 and 1908, and many State Conventions (Chairman of Convention at Buffalo, 1906). Elected leader of Tammany Hall, in succession to Richard Croker, 1902. Appoined president of East River Bridge Commission, 1897; Commissioner of Public Works, Richmond Borough, 1914-1915; now Public Service Commissioner. Appointed by Governor Odell a Commissioner to St. Louis World's Fair, 1904; by President Roosevelt member of the Board of Visitors to the United States Naval Academy, 1903; by President Taft delegate to Fourth Pan-American Conference, at Buenos Aires, 1910; and Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary on special mission to represent United States at Chilean Centenary, 1910.
He is a promient yachtsman; a trustee of Webbs' Academy and Home for Shipbuilders; fellow American Geographical Society; and member of the Sons of the American Revolution, and of New York, Washington and Philadelphia clubs.