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Loden's grandfather part of city politics


The death last week of Daniel J. Loden, 86, the legendary Baltimore advertising executive and creator of the Charm City promotional campaign nearly 30 years ago, brought back to mind the paternal grandfather for whom he was named.

The elder Loden was a well-liked and colorful Democratic leader who cavorted on the Baltimore political stage in the early days of the last century.

Loden was a protege of I. Freeman Rasin, chief henchman for Maryland Sen. Arthur Pue Gorman. He was also a member of what was called Baltimore's Royal Family, which included Democratic bosses Frank Kelly, Sonny Mahon and "Paving" Bob Padgett.

Loden, who was the youngest member of the Royal Family and was often called its "baby," held one public office or other for more than 30 years.

He had been a police magistrate and later moved to City Hall in 1912 when he was appointed Collector of Water Rents and Licenses by Mayor James H. Preston.

Even The Sun had to grudgingly acknowledge that he ran the office with "creditable efficiency."

In addition, for years he had also headed the Concord Club, a city-wide Democratic organization, ruling it as a "King," observed The Sun.

It was said that his smoked-filled City Hall office, perfumed by rare Havana cigars, was a popular destination for politicians seeking advice or favors or both. The room was enlivened by his ebullient personality, which made him popular with people from all walks of life who called him "Danny" or "Little Dan" Loden.

A larger-than-life figure, Loden wore his hair in bangs for years and had a sartorial penchant for colorful hosiery, neckties and an ever-present derby hat.

A beefy-looking man with a set of gorgeous jowls to match, Loden's face was circumvented with a pair of tortoise shell glasses attached to a ribbon. They gave him the air of a banker, lawyer or professor rather than a big-city boss.

When he was removed from his City Hall job in 1923 by newly elected Mayor Howard W. Jackson, Loden told The Evening Sun, "I'm not out of politics because I'm losing this job. Don't think it for a moment."

When his namesake grandson was born in 1918, Loden and his wife, posed for pictures in the garden of their home at 4909 Edmondson Ave., holding the newborn.

It looked from the pose, The Sun said, that Loden might be "whispering in his ear some of the secrets of political success that brought the grandfather to the verge of Congress."

In later years, the grandson grew to somewhat physically resemble his colorful grandfather, and for a time even wore his gray hair in slightly modified bangs during the 1970s.

J. Stanley Heuisler, who had worked at VanSant Dugdale & Co., where Loden had been chairman of the advertising company, recalled him as an "Irishman who always had a twinkle in his eye."

It was also Heuisler's observation that Loden had inherited his grandfather's ability when it came time in meetings to give stem-winder like speeches.

"He could talk like a political boss, and I always knew he was very proud of his grandfather," Heuisler, the former editor of Baltimore magazine, said the other day.

"He was a power to reckon with in every political alignment within the Democratic party and yet he will be remembered not so much for his political acumen as for his wit, his individuality of dress and keen appraisal of human nature," said an Evening Sun editorial at the time of his death in 1930.

"And we mourn Danny Loden the more because the memories of his gayety are set against a background of personal decency; he was not in the gay old game for money; he was in it for the sheer love of its play of wits. Politics left him poor. And he did not repine," said a Sun editorial.

"Danny Loden belonged to another day. His roots are back in a time when Baltimore, if less sane and prosperous, was more richly endowed with men who made their own lives the law, and therefore were bright, startling figures on the communal canvas."

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