John F. Blakely, a Lodi native, Class of 1900 high school valedictorian and former letter carrier, was the head of Lodi's early city government for 31 years. He did so much to shape the community that he was often referred to as "Mr. Lodi."
Blakely was a one-man administrative force when he started working as Lodi's city clerk in 1921. He was the city assessor, part-time tax collector, finance officer and collector of water and electrical department fees. As the chief administrator, he helped organize the police and fire departments, supervised the building of the present City Hall on Pine Street and a city sewage treatment plant on Kettleman Lane. As the administrator who oversaw Lodi's growth until 1952, Blakely was so highly regarded that he became the first city employee to have a park named after him.