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Tom Loftin Johnson (July 18, 1854 – April 10, 1911) was an Americanmarker politician of the Democratic Party from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He headed relief efforts after the Johnstown, Pennsylvania floodsmarker of 1889, was a U.S. Representative from 1891–1895 and the 35th mayor of Cleveland, Ohiomarker between 1901 and 1909. In 1903, he was the Democratic nominee for Governor of Ohio.

Johnson was born in Georgetown, Kentuckymarker. His brother, Albert, was the financial backer and organizer of the Players League, a one-year experimental major baseball league which sought to treat players as partners, rather than laborers.

Tom Johnson invented a pay-box for trolleys and became wealthy from licensing the patent. He began investing in street railways in Indianapolis, Cleveland, and Detroit. Johnson then became principal owner and president of the Detroit City Railways after leaving Congress in 1895. Later he sold his stake in DCR in 1899 and moved to Cleveland to reenter politics. Johnson was an advocate of Henry George's single tax. Today, a statue of Johnson stands in Cleveland's Public Square depicting him holding Henry George's book, "Progress and Poverty."

Today, Johnson is considered a great influence in the progressive movement in the United States that took place in the early 20th century. He is also considered Cleveland's greatest mayor

According to the inscription on a statue of Johnson in Cleveland, Lincoln Steffens called him "The best Mayor of the best-governed city in the United States."

In the book, Best and Worst of the Big-City Leaders 1820-1993 (Penn State Press) by Melvin G. Holli in consultation with a panel of experts, placed Johnson among the ten best, next to Fiorello H. La Guardia of New York Citymarker.

References

  • The Encyclopedia Of Cleveland History by Cleveland Bicentennial Commission (Cleveland, Ohio), David D. Van Tassel (Editor), and John J. Grabowski (Editor) ISBN 0-253-33056-4


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