Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Spotlight: Former License Collector Working Hard for David Francis Statue

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Spotlight: Former License Collector Working Hard for David Francis Statue

Article excerpt

Stephen Doss isn't the only St. Louisan who thinks this town has not done enough to honor David R. Francis.

And no one is doing more than he is to correct the situation.

That's why Doss is out thumping the tub for the last dollars needed to complete and erect a statue to Francis in (where else?) Francis Park in St. Louis Hills.

"It's crazy that there's no real memorial to him in St. Louis. There is no statue of him in St. Louis, and I think there's only a bust of him at the University of Missouri," said Doss, a retired corporate personnel manager.

Doss also was a city official some years ago. A Republican, he was named as the city's license collector in April 1990. As expected, he lost to a Democrat in November, but the race was closer than many predicted.

But Doss is more interested in listing the accomplishments that Francis (1850-1927) forged in his lifetime:

* Graduated from Washington University at the age of 20.

* Gave up a lucrative career as a commodities broker and was elected St. Louis mayor in 1885, at age 35.

* Elected governor of Missouri in 1889. Only 38, he was the youngest governor in the nation. He remains the only person to serve as both St. Louis mayor and Missouri governor.

* Served as U.S. secretary of the interior from 1896-1897.

* President of the 1904 World's Fair Louisiana Purchase Exposition. (Francis Field at Washington University is named in his honor.)

* Returned to public life in 1916 as the U.S. ambassador to Russia, serving during the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917.

"He loved seeing new things and different kinds of people, and he had a born politician's delight in wading into crowds," said Harper Barnes, a longtime Post-Dispatch critic who wrote "Standing on a Volcano: the Life and Times of David Rowland Francis. …

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