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Name:    King, Washington
Profession:  Mayor
Category:  Politics and Government    (Number 15)
Term as Mayor:    1855-1856
Born/Started:     Oct. 05, 1815
Died/Ended:     Aug. 27, 1861
Description:    Washington King was the 15th mayor of St. Louis, serving from 1855 to 1856. Like most mayors since 1835, he devoted much of his time to bringing railroads to St. Louis. In his message to the Council he recommended additional aid to the Ohio and Mississippi Railway to help unite the City with the East.

In 1855 Mayor King and former Mayors Kennett and Wimer were on board a 14-car train that brought the Midwest its first major rail disaster. On November 1st, a large group of civic leaders was traveling on the Pacific Railroad from St. Louis to the State Capitol in Jefferson City. Near Hermann, the Gasconade River bridge gave way and many cars crashed into the flooded river. Thirty-one passengers died, and Mayors King and Wimer were injured.

The City´s annexation of nearly 9-1/2 square miles in 1856 helped its population double, from 77,860 in 1850 to 160,773 in 1860. The western city limit was extended from Eighteenth Street to Grand Avenue. The outlying towns of Bremen and the second municipality of St. Louis were taken in. Mayor King’s administration had to prepare to extend municipal services to a new area about twice the size of the City of 1855. Mayor King called for more street paving anf the expansion of the waterworks with a second reservoir at Twentieth and Benton Streets.

Mayor King was born in New York City, where he was well educated and became an accomplished scholar and teacher. At one time he headed the largest classical and English school in New York City. In 1836 he married Miss Cynthia M. Kelsey of Connecticut and they had two children. In 1844 he came to St. Louis and entered the manufacturing and mercantile business.

He headed the Adams Express Company for several years before he died in St. Louis on August 27, 1861. Burial was in Calvary Cemetery.

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