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Name:    Walbridge, Cyrus P.
Profession:  Mayor
Category:  Politics and Government    (Number 28)
Term as Mayor:    1893-1897
Born/Started:     Jul. 20, 1849
Died/Ended:     May. 01, 1921
Description:    Cyrus P. Walbridge was the 28th mayor of St. Louis, serving from 1893 to 1897. He was the first mayor of St. Louis to appoint women to offices in city government, including appointments to the public library board, the board of charity commissioners and the house of refuge board. During his administration the public school library became the free public library, administered by a separate board of directors. Construction on the new City Hall continued, although its cost estimate doubled to $2 million. The mayor approved a detailed ordinance regulating the collection and disposal of garbage. He approved the removal of all telephone and telegraph poles, and the placing of the wires underground in the downtown district as far west as Twenty-Second Street.

The Chain of Rocks Waterworks was completed and put into service. The new Baden pumping station was almost completed. The office of license collector was created to issue all licenses required by city ordinance. A Charter Commission, created by ordinance in 1895, made proposals for constructive reforms in city government, among which was a recommendation for a merit system for selection of City employees.

On May 27, 1896, St. Louis experienced its first great tornado. The City Hospital was the most heavily damaged of City institutions. An emergency ordinance of June 22, 1896, provided for leasing the House of Good Shepherd at Seventeenth and Pine Streets as a temporary City Hospital.

Mayor Walbridge was born at Madrid, NY in 1849. His family moved to Northfield, MN in 1861 and he attended Carlton College. He worked his way through the law school of the University of Michigan by teaching school and working as a carpenter. In 1879 he married Miss Lizzie Merrell. They had one son.

He came to St. Louis in 1876 to practice law and eventually became president of the J. S. Merrell Drug Company. From 1881 to 1883 he was a member of the House of Delegates in the City legislature. In 1889 he was elected president of the Council.

In 1904 Mr. Walbridge was named president of the Bell Telephone Company of Missouri. He served as president of the National Wholesale Druggists Association and he headed the Businessmen┬┤s League of St. Louis. He died May 1, 1921 and was buried in Bellefontaine Cemetery.

First Women Appointed in City Government

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