Frederick Kohler (May 2, 1864–January 30, 1934) was an American politician of the Republican Party who served as the 40th mayor of Cleveland, Ohio from 1922 to 1923. He was born in Cleveland to Christian and Fredericka Kohler. As a teenager, he left school to help his father in Kohler Stone Works. After his father’s death, the business ended and Kohler sought work elsewhere.
In 1889, Kohler joined the police force and quickly rose to prominence. In 1900, he was promoted to captain and in 1903, Mayor Tom L. Johnson appointed Kohler as chief of police. He had a very brusque style of law enforcement and always expected the absolute maximum from all policemen, demanding a neat appearance and full day’s work. While some, such as President Theodore Roosevelt, applauded him as “the country’s finest chief of police”, he was disliked by political partisans who disapproved of his contempt for political favoritism. After Johnson left the mayor’s office in 1909, opposition forces began gathering up to rid the city of Kohler. In 1913, Kohler was fired from his position by Civil Service Commission on charges of neglect of duty and gross immorality, after becoming wrapped up in an ugly divorce suit brought by a salesman against his adulterous wife. A month later, a gang of hired thugs mugged and brutally beat Kohler in an alley off Short Vincent Street.
Kohler made it through the tussle and instead of deciding to leave Cleveland, he devoted himself to politics. In 1918, he was elected Cuyahoga County commissioner as a Republican, serving two terms. His tenure as commissioner served him well when he campaigned and was elected mayor of Cleveland. He served one term from 1922 to 1924. As mayor, Kohler concentrated on the economy in city government, cutting payrolls and city services, and persuading private agencies to care for families on relief. However, Kohler started becoming unpopular again when he “cleaned up” City Hall by slashing municipal expenses and firing 850 patronage employees.
In 1924, the city adopted a city manager plan, and Kohler did not seek reelection. Instead, he was elected sheriff. He left office in 1926, after being accused of underfeeding the prisoners in jail. He suffered a stroke in 1932 and died in 1934.