Vincent C. Schoemehl, Jr.
|Member of the Bi-State Development Agency Board of Commissioners|
|Assumed office |
|Preceded by||Harvey Harris|
|42nd Mayor of St. Louis|
April 1981 – April 1993
|Preceded by||James F. Conway|
|Succeeded by||Freeman Bosley Jr.|
|Born||October 30, 1946|
St. Louis, Missouri
|Residence||St. Louis, Missouri|
|Alma mater||University of Missouri|
Vincent C. Schoemehl, Jr. (born October 30, 1946 in St. Louis) was the 42nd Mayor of St. Louis, Missouri, serving three terms from 1981 to 1993. At the time of his first election, he was one of the City's youngest mayors. In 1992, Schoemehl was defeated in the Democratic primary by lieutenant governor Mel Carnahan in a bid to become Governor of Missouri.
Born in St. Louis in 1946, Schoemehl received a degree in history from the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 1972. He and his wife, Lois, have two sons. Their son Tim Schoemehl made a run for Missouri State Representative District 64 in 2004.
Schoemehl was elected to the City of St. Louis board of aldermen as a representative from the 28th ward for six years before being elected mayor in 1981. Schoemehl returned to public office in 2003, winning election as a member of the St. Louis School Board. He resigned from that position in November 2005. He recently retired from his post as president and CEO of Grand Center, Inc.
Real estate and development
Schoemehl is active in the areas of historic preservation and urban design. He helped save the Cupples Warehouses from demolition and promoted "public-private partnerships" that led to more than 600 rehabilitation projects. He also launched Operation Brightside, a City beautification program, and Operation Safestreet, a home safety program. In 1991, Schoemehl served as a committee member for the Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence.
He has expressed regret for the 1980s destruction of downtown historic buildings and disruption of the Gateway Mall by the fifteen story office building now named after Peabody Energy. Opposition to the plan had been prominent, including historic preservationists relocating offices to one of the endangered buildings. CBS Radio vice president Robert Hyland described it as "an absolute aesthetic disaster." The destruction of "Real Estate Row" has been described as "one of the greatest tragedies in St. Louis architectural history."
Among the legacies of Schoemehl's tenure as mayor of St. Louis are numerous concrete street blockades nicknamed "Schoemehl pots."
Building demolitions and development leading to gentrification were among the causes for homelessness claimed by Reverend Larry Rice of the New Life Evangelistic Center when he constructed tent cities named "Schoemehlville" on the City Hall lawn. In several summers during the late 1980s and early 1990s, an estimated 100-150 people lived in the temporary tent cities to raise awareness around housing needs and to protest a lack of city support for homeless people. The encampments often coincided with the annual VP Fair, and in 1987 Rice brought a flock of sheep to City Hall to protest the city "pulling the wool" over the citizen's eyes.
Bi-State Development Agency
In July 2007, Matt Blunt nominated Schoemehl to be one of Missouri's five commissioners on the ten person board of commissioners for the Bi-State Development Agency which operates public-transit on both the Illinois and Missouri sides of the Greater St. Louis area. Schoemehl replaced Harvey Harris after the former's confirmation by the Missouri Senate.
Board of Education
Schoemehl was elected to the St. Louis City Board of Education in a slate of candidates with significant financial backing from then mayor Francis Slay and several local corporations. The board's decision to hire a private firm to restructure the school district and close schools resulted in public protests, a lawsuit, and criticism from education reform scholars Jeff Henig and Amy Stuart Wells. Schoemehl compared dissenting parents of students to Nazis in a heated school board meeting, winning the title of 2003 "Best Villain" from the Riverfront Times.
- Timeline of St. Louis, 1980s-1990s
- "Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence". Selection Committees. Bruner Foundation. Archived from the original on 7 January 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
- Holleman, Joe. "Spotlight: Building interrupting the Gateway Mall is a mayor's regret". stltoday.com. Retrieved 2019-05-03.
- "The Evolution of the Gateway Mall (Part 7): "Pride" and the Mall | Preservation Research Office". Retrieved 2019-05-03.
- Guenther, Robert (Jul 21, 1982). "Plans for Park-Like Mall Stir Battle in Downtown St. Louis". Wall Street Journal. p. 31.
- "Built St. Louis | Historic Downtown". www.builtstlouis.net. Retrieved 2019-05-03.
- Bose, Richard (2014-03-13). "Street not Thru: The Cul-De-Sacking of St. Louis". NextSTL. Retrieved 2019-05-03.
- "TENT CITY RETURNS TO CITY HALL". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 2 July 1988. p. 4A.
- O'Neil, Tim; Bertelson, Christine (3 July 1990). "VISIBLE TENT CITY IS USED TO REMIND AREA OF HOMELESSNESS". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. 1A.
- Staff (July 25, 2007). "Blunt appoints Schoemehl to Bi-State Development Agency". St. Louis Business Journal. Retrieved August 19, 2016.
- Wilson, D. J. "Demolition Man". Riverfront Times. Retrieved 2019-05-03.
- "School Board Might Censure Schoemehl Today". news.stlpublicradio.org. Retrieved 2019-05-03.
- "Best Villain". Riverfront Times. Retrieved 2019-05-03.
- April 17, 2006: Interview from MayorSlay.com for 25th Anniversary of Mayor Schoemehl's inauguration.
- "New Mayor in St. Louis". Burlington Hawk-Eye. April 22, 1981. p. 2.
- Holleman, Joe; Schlinkmann, Mark (April 21, 1993). "Bosley Takes Reins of City Hall". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. 1A.