Warren Burger

Former chief justice of the U. S. Supreme Court Warren Burger (1907-1995) lived with his six siblings in a two-bedroom cottage at 695 Conway from 1914 to 1933. His father worked as a railway cargo inspector and sometime traveling salesman so the German-Swiss family’s financial circumstances were limited.

Burger attended Van Buren School and graduated from Johnson High School in 1925, where he edited the school newspaper and earned letters in athletics. He then worked days as an insurance salesman while he attended night classes at the University of Minnesota and St. Paul College of Law.

In 1969, President Richard Nixon appointed Burger to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, a position he held until he resigned in 1987 to devote his energy to serving as chairman of the Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution.

He was part of the conservative wing of the Court and was considered a very competent administrator who made the Court’s work more efficient. Burger was a tireless promoter of judicial reform, working to increase the competence of lawyers trying cases in federal courts and promoting a national court of appeals.

One source suggests that the Burger House was constructed in 1884, but that is not correct. In fact, Warren’s grandfather, a civil war hero bought, remodeled and added to the already existing McLean School that was built in 1871. It was no longer needed because the city had replaced it with a much larger Van Buren School. The family moved into the former schoolhouse in 1884.