In 1893 Cyrus P. Walbridge became the thirty-second Mayor of St. Louis.
Mr. Walbridge was the first Mayor of St. Louis to appoint women to offices in the government. Women became members of the Public Library Board, the Board of Charity Commissioners and the House of Refuge Board. During his administration the Public School Library became the free Public Library administered by a separate Board of Directors.
Mayor Walbridge approved a detailed Ordinance regulating the collection and disposal of garbage. He approved the removal of all telephone and telegraph poles, and the placing of the wires underground, in the downtown district as far west as Twenty-Second Street. In other activities during Walbridges' administration the new Baden pumping station was almost completed and the office of License Collector was created to issue all licenses required by City Ordinance. A Charter Commission, created by Ordinance in 1895, made proposals for constructive reforms in city government, among which was a recommendation for a merit system for selection of City employees.
On May 27, 1896, St. Louis experienced its first great tornado. The City Hospital was the most heavily damaged of City institutions. An emergency Ordinance of June 22, 1896, provided for leasing the House of Good Shepherd at Seventhteenth and Pine Streets as a temporary Hospital.