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Tom Loftin Johnson

Johnson, Tom Loftin, 1854–1911, American municipal reformer, mayor of Cleveland (1901–10), b. Georgetown, Ky. He acquired a substantial fortune from streetcar and steel interests, and, deeply influenced in the 1880s by the writings of Henry George, he devoted himself to reform. After two terms (1891–95) as a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives, he became (1901) mayor of Cleveland, serving four terms. He fought strenuous battles for municipal reform against political bosses (especially Mark Hanna) and business interests. Although his plans for municipal ownership of public utilities were not realized, he helped create civic consciousness in Cleveland, initiated sanitary measures, and improved facilities to help the city's poor. Cleveland, in the time of Johnson's mayoralty, was called "the best governed city in the United States."

See his autobiography (1911); biography by C. Lorenz (1911).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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