Name: Dickmann, Bernard F.
Category: Politics and Government (Number 34)
Term as Mayor: 1933-1941
Born/Started: Sep. 07, 1888
Died/Ended: Dec. 09, 1971
Description: Bernard Dickman was the 34th mayor of St. Louis, serving two terms from 1933 to 1941. Two of the greatest accomplishments of his administration were the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial and the Smoke ordinance. He is also remembered for his efforts to reform city government and bring greater efficiency fiscal responsibility to city hall.
Born in St. Louis, Dickman was initially employed by a lumber company. At age 18 he entered the real estate business with his father, Joseph F. Dickmann. During World War I, he enlisted in the Marine Corps and rose to the rank of Gunnery Sergeant. Following the War he returned to the real estate business in St. Louis. He served three terms as Exalted Ruler of the St. Louis Elks Lodge and devoted much time to the affairs of the St. Louis Real Estate Exchange, serving as a member of the Board of Directors, secretary, and president.
A Democrat, Dickmann became the first Democratic mayor in 24 years and the first bachelor mayor in more than a half century. At his inauguration he promised a program of economy leading to a balanced budget. His survey of the City´s governmental organization, services, and finances, was the first general and complete study ever. $40,000 was appropriated, and a group of municipal consultants, Griffenhagen Associates and Governmental Research Institute, conducted the survey under the direction of a local committee appointed by the mayor. Many of the survey´s recommendations were put into effect.
Mayor Dickman led efforts to launch the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial on the St. Louis riverfront. Forty city blocks were cleared to make way for the site. Mayor Dickman persuaded President Franklin D. Roosevelt to issue an executive order retaining the Old Court House, the Rock House, and the old Cathedral as part of the Memorial Area.
Mayor Dickman’s biggest challenge was likely the smoke problem in the City. For many years St. Louis had been attempting to clear its atmosphere of smoke. The Smoke ordinance, creating the Division of Smoke Regulation in the Department of Public Safety, became effective in February of 1937. By 1941, representatives from eighty-three cities in 31 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada, had come to St. Louis to learn about the ordinance and its application.
Mayor Dickmann was defeated by Republican Judge William D. Becker in 1941. In December of 1943 he was appointed St. Louis postmaster. In February 1949 he married Mrs. Beula Pat Herrington, postmistress of Mount Olive, MS. He served as postmaster until he became of retirement age in 1958. In January, 1959, Mayor Tucker appointed him director of the newly created Department of Welfare. He retired from that position in 1961 and continued in the real estate business.
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site was made possible by: the City of St. Louis Planning and Urban Design Agency and