In 1835 John Fletcher Darby became the fourth Mayor of St. Louis.
In 1840 John Fletcher Darby, he again was elected Mayor, became the sixth Mayor of St. Louis.
Mayor Darby was active in getting the first Missouri railroad convention held in St. Louis. As the result of this convention, two railroads were incorporated in Missouri. A start was made in protecting the St. Louis Harbor by building dykes on the Illinois side of the Missouri River. The Waterworks became wholly owned by the City in 1835. The first plant, completed in 1831, was a joint venture between the City and a private company. Abraham Fox, a co-owner of the company, was the first City Superintendent of the Waterworks. As he ran into financial difficulties, the City gradually bought his interest. On July 14, 1835 St. Louis purchased his remaining one-fourth interest for $18,000.
Mayor Darby advocated the purchase of public squares and parks for recreation areas and parade grounds. Lafayette Park, the first city park west of the Mississippi, was planned and laid out. The first steps were taken in purchasing Washington Square on which the present City Hall stands. The Mayor named this plot of ground and bought it for $25,000, with nothing down and fifty years to pay in five per cent bonds. Then came criticism that he was wasting taxpayersĂ money. For a while this Square was called 'Darby's Big Gulley.' Councilman Budd, who had written the purchasing Ordinance, was defeated for re-election.