The progressive idea of reform developed through years of experimentation in St. Louis and achieved success in the 1897 School Board reorganization. As early as 1877 the tendency to treat the city as a separate entity became apparent when a new charter separating the city from the county was effected. Previously there had been both a city and a county government in the same area, each with two legislative houses and the power to tax. The “dual double-headed system then in force,” one critic argued, “was anomalous and absurd.” The two bodies, both of which levied taxes, did not really represent the people, since neither was elected at large. The new charter, although retaining the two-house City Council, required one house to be elected at large; efficiency was increased through extended terms for most officials and an increase of administrative powers for the mayor.