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Name:    Pratte, Bernard
Mayor
Profession:  Mayor
Category:  Politics and Government    (Number 8)
Term as Mayor:    1844-1846
Born/Started:     Dec. 17, 1803
Died/Ended:     Aug. 10, 1886
Description:    Bernard Pratte was the eighth mayor of St. Louis, serving from 1844 to 1846. He was the first native-born St. Louisan to become mayor of the City. In April of 1844 he was elected mayor as a Whig candidate.

In June Mayor Pratee faced his first challenge when the Mississippi River flooded the City. Five hundred people were driven from their homes. The river was from three to six miles wide in some places. It was a record flood in St. Louis history, and for many years this high water mark was shown on the front of the Harbor and Wharf building on the levee. A flood relief ordinance was signed by the mayor on June 26.

Carr Square was given to the City as a public park by William C. Carr in 1844. The City´s food inspection regulations were expanded as inspectors were authorized to check and grade butter, lard and tallow. Lucas Market, located in the middle of what is now Twelfth Street, was provided for by ordinance of August 8, 1845. It was abolished in 1882 to make Twelfth Street 150 feet wide. Gas lights were first used to light the streets during Mayor Pratte´s administration. The levee was paved with stone blocks. In 1845 the city engineer was given authority to erect a City Hospital and it was completed in 1846. Work continued on the improvement of the harbor and wharf.

Mayor Pratte was the first child born in St. Louis after the ratification of the Louisiana Purchase treaty with France in 1804. In 1824 he married Miss Louise Chenie and they raised seven children. His father had a general merchandising business in the City and Mr. Pratte joined in the business. The father, General Bernard Pratte, was head of the old fur trading firm of Pratte, Chouteau and Company. Young Pratte was adventurous and the fur trade was pushed into remote regions through his activities. In 1832 he ascended the Missouri River by steamboat with Pierre Chouteau to the mouth of the Yellowstone. They maintained a large fur trade with the Indians.

Pratte was elected to membership in the Missouri Legislature in 1838. He was also prominent in banking circles and was for many years a director of the Bank of the state of Missouri and for a time was its president. He died August 10, 1886 at Jonesburg, MO. Burial was in Calvary Cemetery.


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