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St. Louis’ first ban on smoke

April 8, 2010 Environment, History/Preservation, Smoke Free 2 Comments

On April 8th St. Louis took action to get rid of damaging smoke.  The year was 1940 and the smoke was from coal fired furnaces. The problem had been building for years.  Time magazine explains:

The burly head of Bernard Francis (“Barney”) Dickmann, the enterprising bachelor realtor who is St. Louis’ mayor until at least April 6 (municipal election day), last week literally was in a smoky fog, and had been there for many winter weeks. The murk over St. Louis has been so thick that the new Governor of Missouri, Lloyd Crow Stark, an enterprising nurseryman, could not see the city streets when he flew over during an inspection of the Ohio-Mississippi flood. He wished that Mayor Dickmann would sign a pending city ordinance to abate the smoke which makes St. Louis grimier than notorious Pittsburgh.   (Medicine: St. Louis Smoke Monday, Feb. 22, 1937)

Dickmann was reelected as Mayor but it would be another three years before he’d get a bill from the Board of Aldermen to sign into law.

During Mayor Dickmann’s administration, the city also enacted a Smoke Ordinance, and took steps to reduce the air pollution created by the extensive use of coal for home heating and industrial use in the city. (Wikipedia: Dickman)

A key figure in banning smoke was future mayor Tucker:

Tucker served in Mayor Bernard F. Dickmann’s administration from 1934 to 1937, during which time he served as City Smoke Commissioner. From 1939 to 1941, he was secretary to Mayor Dickmann’s Survey and Audit Committee which sponsored the Griffenhagen Report on St. Louis City Government. In part of 1940 and 1941, he was Director of Public Safety. (Wikipedia: Tucker)

Can you imagine smoke so bad you had to use lanterns to see during the day? It took years to ban the cause of the smoke because many fought the change.  Today, 70 years later, I’m so glad they got it done despite those who objected.

– Steve Patterson


Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

  1. studs lonigan says:

    Oxygen was likely seen as the root of a socialist takeover of local government.


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