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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

ZANGERLE, JOHN A. - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

ZANGERLE, JOHN A. (12 Apr. 1866-1 Oct. 1956), Cuyahoga County auditor (1913-51) and the last surviving public official of the TOM L. JOHNSON† era, was born in Cleveland to Adam and Maria Reisterer Zangerle, graduated from West High School in 1884, read law, and was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1890 before studying economics at the University of Berlin. Zangerle practiced law with the firm of Zangerle, Higley & Maurer, while also consolidating several breweries into Cleveland & Sandusky Brewing Co. He was elected to the Cleveland School Board in 1890 and to the Quadrennial Board of Assessors in 1910. In 1912 Zangerle first won election as county auditor. Never aspiring a higher office, Zangerle became so strong politically that Republicans often made only token efforts to defeat him. The county auditor's office became responsible for property assessments for taxation purposes in 1917, and Zangerle established a system of uniform tax appraisals. In the 1930s, he replaced antiquated equipment in the tax division with efficient mechanical equipment and a new accounting and records system. Zangerle was not afraid to confront prominent individuals or corporations on assessments, securing additional revenues from STANDARD OIL CO. (OHIO), REPUBLIC STEEL CORP., Society for Savings, and Sears. He championed a more equitable method of taxation based solely on land values and executed by the state rather than the 88 individual county auditors. From 1951 until his death, Zangerle returned to practicing law. Zangerle married Blanche Norton in 1912 and had 3 children, Willis, Hildegard, and Jane Elisabeth.

Last Modified: 23 Jul 1997 10:41:37 AM

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