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Old 08-17-2016, 01:09 AM
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A statue to Tom Johnson still looks over Cleveland's renovated Public Square, avoiding a feared demotion to some less conspicuous and less honored location. See slide 7 here:


Who was Tom Johnson? A believer in free speech and the common man, Johnson was a "Progressive" mayor who transformed Cleveland into a modern city, and subsequently was acclaimed as one of the best mayors in American history.

Believe it or not, under Johnson, Cleveland became the first major American city to pick up the city's garbage.



Not mentioned in the above article, Johnson also championed William Stinchcomb's controversial plan to create an "Emerald Necklace" for Cleveland. Stinchcomb became the father of the Cleveland Metroparks.


HISTORY: Remembering the Past – The Stature & Statue of Tom L. Johnson | CoolCleveland

Shaky Ground

Encyclopedia of Cleveland History: MUNICIPAL OWNERSHIP
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Old 08-17-2016, 01:48 PM
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^Good stuff. I've long known Johnson was a champion of the little guy with his call for low streetcar fares from the often gouging private companies, but I didn't know all this. Thanks.
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Old 05-09-2017, 06:27 AM
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Default Birth of the Mall, Group Plan

This article describes downtown Cleveland at the turn of the 20th century, including a slum area just south of Public Square. It also describes how downtown was transformed by Tom Johnson, and later the Vans, over the next 3 decades.

Johnson's contribution was the historically ambitious "Group Plan" for a monumental civic center north of Public Square:

Mayor Tom L. Johnson, a streetcar tycoon turned populist Democrat whose successful campaign for office expressed firm support for a central campus, commissioned a master plan from a three-man panel of famous architects. Arnold Brunner, John Carr√®re, and Daniel Burnham, the visionary behind the Columbian Exposition’s buildings, would be known as “The Group,” and the plan they delivered to Johnson in 1903 took the unremarkable name of “The Group Plan.”

But the vision that Burnham et al expressed for the center of Cleveland was far from unremarkable. Arranged around a central mall, a federal building, a county courthouse, a new city hall, an auditorium, a massive public library and a new home for the city’s board of education would rise. Inspired by the Place de la Concorde in Paris, the Group Plan was the most ambitious document of urban planning in America since the construction of Washington, D.C. a hundred years before.>>

Train Dreams | Belt Magazine | Dispatches From The Rust Belt

The transformation of Cleveland begun by Johnson just over a century ago raised the city into the modern world:

Johnson, a millionaire businessman and former Congressman, came to govern a city that had few paved streets — he paved them and kept them clean. He hired police and firemen and picked up the garbage. The drinking water was putrid, so he started construction of “the crib” three miles off the city in Lake Erie to improve the water. People died because of poor and unsanitary health conditions; he reformed the Health Department and helped to eradicate small pox and tuberculosis and in passing cleaned up unsanitary barbershops.

Like other major urban areas, hundreds of homeless youth roamed the city and contributed to the rising rate of juvenile crime. He opened the Boy’s Farm in rural Hudson to provide a home, life on a farm, and structure to the lives of these abandoned youths.

He went to the Workhouse at 79th and Woodland and found it to be more of a dungeon than a jail. He ordered prisoners released and cleaned it up. Cleveland had lots of parks at the turn of the 20th century but it also had lots of KEEP OFF THE GRASS signs. The signs came down. By the middle of Johnson’s term, 3.5 million people had visited at least one of the city’s parks. In an age before automobiles, when urban mass transit was privately owned, Johnson created publicly owned transit that provide reasonable fares for riders who suffered for years as victims of streetcars owners who often gouged working people whose only means of transportation to and from work was the streetcar lines.

If you have been to the new Convention Center you also have Johnson to thank for that. It was his plan for public buildings around an open public space — a plan that became nationally known and acclaimed — that located the new city hall, courthouse, public library, public auditorium and federal building on what Clevelanders now know as the Mall. The Group Plan, started in the Johnson Administration, controls the use and look of the Mall today.>>



Inscription on the statue of Tom L. Johnson
Beyond his party and beyond his class
this man forsook the few to serve the mass
He found us groping leaderless and blind
He left us a city with a civic mind
He found us striving each his selfish part
He left a city with a civic heart
And ever with his eye set on the goal
the vision of city with a soul>>

Last edited by WRnative; 05-09-2017 at 06:56 AM..
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Old 07-20-2017, 07:36 PM
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Default William Stinchcomb

Nice video explaining how Tom Johnson charged William Stinchcomb with a mission that became Stinchcomb's life's work and transformed Greater Cleveland.

Meet William Stinchcomb, visionary behind creating Cleveland Metroparks 100 years ago | cleveland.com
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Old 07-21-2017, 11:35 AM
Location: Cleveland Heights, OH
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Fascinating. I love reading stuff like this about my new city of Cleveland, thank you! And that inscription on his statue is so inspiring.
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Old 03-19-2018, 03:57 AM
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Default Tom Johnson's West Side Market

This video tells how Tom Johnson created the West Side Market.

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