He served two four-year terms in office from 1904 to 1912. He died from Influenza, early on in the worldwide epidemic of that year on May 14, 1918, while halfway through a third term in office that had started in 1916. As an adherent of the City Beautiful movement, Speer initiated several projects that added new landmarks, updated existing facilities, or improved the city"s landscape including:
City Auditorium, site of the 1908 Democratic National Convention
The Civic Center
Denver Mountain Parks
The Denver Zoo expansion from 1906 to 1918.
Denver Museum of Nature and Science
The paving and graveling of many of the city"s remaining dirt streets
An urban forestry program that eventually distributed 110,000 free shade trees to city residents
Speer was the first mayor of Denver to die while serving in office.
Speer Boulevard in Denver is named in his honor. He is buried in Fairmount Cemetery in Denver.