Col. George E. Waring Jr., served as commissioner of street cleaning from January 15, 1895 to 1898.

A sanitation engineer and Civil War veteran

Colonel Waring’s prior claim to fame had been creating a drainage system in Memphis after an 1878 yellow fever epidemic.

After he left his position, Colonel Waring contracted yellow fever in Cuba and died in 1898, which The New York Times called an “irony of fate” given that it was a “filth-disease.”

White Wings

In 1895 street cleaning commissioner Colonel George E. Waring Jr. ordered his entire brigade of sweepers to wear all white uniforms and caps.

Thoughts of the white uniforms.

  • He believed the eye-catching regulation whites would keep members of the force at work, and would prevent them from slacking off.
  • Regulation whites remained in effect until the 1930s.
  • Wives didn’t like the uniform because they were always filthy and hard to clean.
  • Made the department more professional looking to the public.