A Look Back: Shakopee's first female mayor
To close out Women’s History Month, we’re looking back on one of Shakopee’s early female leaders.
Just five years after the passage of the 19th amendment, granting women the right to vote, the City of Shakopee elected its first female mayor. The 1925 election was a nail-biter. Elizabeth K. Ries beat incumbent John P. Ring 319 to 290 votes.
The Ries family was well known in Shakopee at the time, as Ries’ father, Jacob, founded the Jacob Ries Bottling Works in 1872. The company bottled water and other beverages under the name Rock Springs Beverages. In fact, Jacob Ries served as Shakopee's mayor from 1895-99.
Elizabeth Ries was also the owner of the Rock Springs Restaurant, one of the most popular establishments in town in the 1920s and 1930s. The location is now Turtle’s 1890 Social Centre.
Ries embraced her newfound stardom. In 1926, she appeared on WCCO radio in Minneapolis as a sort of mistress of ceremonies, bringing with her a group of musicians known as the Shakopee Serenaders and a group of male singers which she deemed The Lady Mayor’s Trio.
During her time as mayor, Shakopee approved a critical connection to Chaska over the Minnesota River with the Holmes Street Bridge, which remains today as a pedestrian bridge.
Ries was elected to a second mayoral term in 1927 but resigned in June 1928 to become Shakopee’s postmaster.
Ries died in May 1949 at the age of 74.