Name: How, John
Category: Politics and Government (Number 14)
Term as Mayor: 1853-1855, 1856-1857
Died/Ended: Jan. 03, 1885
Description: John How was the 14th mayor of St. Louis, serving three terms from 1853 to 1857. During his administration, the temporary Workhouse located near the present City Hospital was moved to Broadway and Meramac Streets. In 1855 permanent buildings were authorized on the present site. A House of Refuge and Correction for juvenile offenders under 15 years of age was established. Part of the old County Poor Farm, now Marquette Park, was set aside and, in 1854, Mayor How approved an ordinance providing the refuge with a board of managers consisting of the mayor and two members from each of the houses of the City Council.
City park areas were also added during his administration. Hyde Park, containing 14-1/2 acres, was purchased for $36,250. The block on which the Central Public Library is located was bought from James H. Lucas for $95,500. The City began investing in railroads and, by 1855, had acquired an interest in four of them. City ordinances were passed granting right-of-way privileges and rights to put up depots on certain lots. The collapse of many buildings in the City led Mayor How to suggest a building inspection service. The office of Inspector of Buildings and Fires was created in 1855 and building permits were required.
A Pennsylvanian by birth, How came to St. Louis and became a prominent and wealthy merchant here. He was married and had two sons, one being James F. How, who married a daughter of James Eads, the builder of Eads Bridge. How defeated Charles P. Chouteau in the 1853 election for mayor. He served two one-year terms, then was out of office for one year before defeating John B. Carson of the Know-Knothing Party, in the election of 1856.
Mr. How left St. Louis about 1869 and went farther west to enter the mining business. He served as Indian agent at Elko, NV, for four years. He lived in San Francisco the last few years of his life and died here January 3, 1885. Burial was at Bellefontaine Cemetery.
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