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Name:    Carr Lane, William
Profession:  Mayor
Category:  Politics and Government    (Number 1)
Term as Mayor:    1823-1829, 1837-1840
Born/Started:     Dec. 01, 1789
Died/Ended:     Jan. 06, 1863
Description:    Dr. William Carr Lane was the first mayor of St. Louis, from 1823 to 1829. He served a second term of office from 1837 to 1840.

A native of Pennsylvania, Dr. Lane came west to St. Louis in 1818 with his wife, Miss Mary Ewing of Vincennes, IN, and their three children. He served as post surgeon at Fort Bellefontaine for one year, before resigning from the army to form a private practice with Dr. Samuel Merry. Four years later, in 1823, he defeated Auguste Chouteau to become the first Mayor of St. Louis. At that time the Mayor´s term was one year (it was lengthened to two years in 1859 and four years in 1876). Dr. Lane was elected to six of these one-year terms in succession, and after almost nine years out of office, he was elected again three more times. The Mayor´s salary was $300 per year.

Upon becoming mayor of a town of 4,000 people, he set out to grade and improve the streets, had Main Street paved and a small Town Hall erected. The first Health Commission was formed and given power to abate nuisances. Physicians were required to make weekly reports of deaths. Basic ordinances for the establishment of City government were passed. The official City Seal—a steamboat carrying the United States Flag—was adopted. The City was divided into three wards and procedures for elections were written into law. Fast driving was prohibited: horses should not exceed a moderate trot or pace. Firearms were not to be discharged within the City.

In 1852, the President of the United States, Millard Fillmore, appointed Dr. Lane governor of the New Mexico Territory. He later returned to St. Louis and continued to practice medicine until his death, January 6, 1863. Burial was in Bellefontaine Cemetery.

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