Jan Mahieu-Liebaert was born in Roeselare on November 12th, 1874. He was elected mayor of the city in 1908, and held his office until 1946. During World War I, he often took a stand for his city, mediating between the city’s inhabitants and the German Ortskommandant. When most of Roeselare was evacuated in 1917, Jan Mahieu went to Brussels. He was succeeded by acting mayor Pieter Staessens. Mahieu returned to Roeselare towards the end of 1918 to take leadership of the city’s reconstruction. In 1920, he was made president of the De Mandel construction company, a leading enterprise that would erect a great number of houses in the city.