In 1858 Oliver Dwight Filley became the twentieth Mayor of St. Louis.
Under Filley's leadership the Fire Alarm Telegraph System was completed and put into use. The first paid Fire Department was organized. It had been authorized during Mayor Wimer's second administration in 1857. Construction was begun on four street railway lines operated by horse cars. The City began to regulate private employment agencies.
Mr. Filley was the City's first Civil War Mayor. At the start of the war he headed a movement for arousing and consolidating union sentiment and acted as chairman of the Committee of Public Safety. This citizens body was appointed to cooperate with the military in enforcing the authority of the National Government. He continued on the committee after his term as Mayor and this was his last prominent public service.
Mr. Filley had been elected for the usual one-year term in 1858. Then in 1859 he became the first Mayor elected for a two-year term under the new City Charter in 1859. Until this time all Mayors had been elected for one-year terms. This new Charter also changed the organization of the legislative body of the City Government. The two house legislative plan which had been adopted in 1839, was discontinued. From 1859 to 1876 the City Council consisted of one board called the Common Council. The board consisted of two members elected from each of the ten wards. Members of the board consisted of two members elected from each of the ten wards. Members of the old Board of Alderman became the new Common Council. The second body, the House of Delegates, ceased to exist in 1859. In 1866 it was used again for the one year only. In 1876 the House of Delegates re-appeared, and the two house system was used until 1914.