Daniel Webster Hoan (March 12,1881 - June 11, 1961) was a United States politician. He became the second socialist mayor of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and his tenure is generally considered to be the longest continuous socialist administration in U.S. history. He was the second-longest serving mayor of Milwaukee.
Hoan was born in Waukesha, Wisconsin, in 1881. He left school early but he studied at evening classes and in 1908 qualified as a lawyer.
A member of the Socialist Party, Hoan moved to Milwaukee where he worked closely with Victor Berger, the editor of the Socialist newspaper, Milwaukee Leader, in trying to persuade the city to adopt radical reforms. This included municipal ownership of utilities, urban renewal programs and free legal, medical and educational services.
In 1910 Emil Seidel was elected mayor of Milwaukee and became the first socialist leader of a major city in the United States. The same year Hoan became Milwaukee's city attorney and over the next six years he clamped down on the corruption of public officials. In 1916 Hoan was elected as mayor of Milwaukee. Unlike many members of the Socialist Party, Hoan did not oppose United States entry into the First World War.
Hoan remained mayor for twenty-four years, the longest continuous Socialist administration in United States history. He brought in a large number of progressive reforms including the country's first public housing project, Garden Homes, started in 1923. Hoan also led the successful drive towards municipal ownership of the stone quarry, street lighting, sewage disposal and water purification.
During his administration the first bus system in the United States came into being after a number of pedestrians were run over by street trolleys that ran down the middle of the road.
A highway system was started under his administration, but federal funding was scarce. The system included the Hoan Bridge, which was constructed starting in 1970 and completed in 1972, but remained un-open to the public until 1977.
Hoan developed a reputation for honest and efficient government. In 1999, Melvin Holli, the author of The American Mayor, and a group of experts on local government, voted Hoan as the eighth best mayor in United States history. Holli wrote: "Although this self-identified socialist had difficulty pushing progressive legislation through a nonpartisan city council, he experimented with the municipal marketing of food, backed city-built housing, and in providing public markets, city harbor improvements, and purging graft from Milwaukee politics. Perhaps Hoan's most important legacy was cleaning up the free-and-easy corruption that prevailed before he took office.
Hoan was defeated in 1940 and the next year left the Socialist Party and joined the Democratic Party. He ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1944 and 1946. In 1948 he was unsuccessful in his attempt to once again become mayor of Milwaukee when he was defeated by the socialist candidate, Frank P. Zeidler. Hoan died in 1961 and was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Milwaukee.