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On this day in 1890, Detroit got what many consider to be, it’s best mayor of all time, and one of the best in the nation’s history. This was a progressive local shoemaker named Hazen Potato Patch Pingree. As mayor, Pingree took on the phone companies, the gas and light utilities, political-party bosses, the city’s privately owned streetcar companies. He took control of the privately-run streetlights, forming the Public Lighting Commission and putting them under public control. He did all of this while slashing taxes. Most importantly, during the Panic of 1893, with people starving, he took unused land and grew vegetables for the hungry–hence the nickname Potato Patch Pingree. He also served as Governor of Michigan for a time.

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