In 1933 Bernard Francis Dickmann became the thirty-eighth Mayor of St. Louis.
Dickmann was the Democratic Party's candidate for the office of Mayor in 1933. He was elected, as the Republicans lost the Mayor's Office for the first time in 24 years. He became the first Democratic Mayor since Rolla Wells and the first bachelor Mayor in more than a half century.
At his inauguration, Mayor Dickmann promised a program of economy leading to a balanced budget. He said studies would be made to make the city government more economical and efficient.
Two of the greatest accomplishments of his administration were the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial and the Smoke Ordinance.
Forty City blocks on the riverfront were cleared to make way for the beautification of the site for the Memorial. Mayor Dickmann obtained an Executive Order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, retaining the Old Court House, the Rock House, and the Old Cathedral as part of the Memorial Area.
For many years St. Louis had been attempting to clear its atmosphere of smoke palls. The Smoke Ordinance, creating the Division of Smoke Regulation in the Department of Public Safety, became effective in February of 1937. By 1941, eighty-three cities from 31 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada had sent to the St. Louis Smoke Commissioner for information on the new Law and its application.
Mayor Dickmann's Survey of the city's governmental organization, services, and finances, was the first general and complete study made here. $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. Mayor Dickmann was defeated by Republican Judge William D. Becker when he ran for a third term in 1941.