Biography of Henry A. Poland
Humboldt County, CA Biographies





HENRY ALFRED POLAND. - The upbuilding of Eureka has been promoted in a most practical manner by Mr. Poland through the buying of unimproved properties, the erection of cottages and their sale to permanent settlers at a small advance over and above the original cost. Much of the work of improvement has been done in the third ward, his home locality, and he has been a substantial element in the material progress of that part of the city which for three terms he represented on the city council. Recognition of his public spirited qualities and capacity for executive leadership came with his election as president of the council for two terms and with his service as acting mayor for one term. At different times he has been identified with different lines of business, but always he has been relied upon to promote the growth of Humboldt county and to advance measures of general importance to the citizens. During his term as president of the council that body succeeded in bonding the city (after the board of education had failed in the attempt) for the first new school houses and built the Jefferson and Washington schools, which formed the basis for Eureka's present magnificent educational buildings. It also installed a sewer system and drafted the franchise for the street railway that was sold to the present company, giving the city three per cent of fhe gross income of the road.

Prior to establishing a home in Eureka in April, 1892, Mr. Poland had lived in the east, his native locality having been Athens, Me., where he was born March 10, 1852, and where he received a public school education. On starting out to make his own way in the world he went to Boston, Mass., and there learned the furniture business in all of its departments, following the same not only in that city, but later for ten years in the city of Philadelphia. The first employment which he found after his arrival in Eureka was that of a day laborer in the moulding mill, where, his ability winning prompt recognition, he was soon promoted to a position of responsibility. For a time he owned and operated a sporting goods store on Second street, but this he finally sold to Henry H. Buhne. Since then he has devoted considerable time to the filling of contracts and to the building of houses for sale. One of his contracts was for the remodeling of the Vance hotel. He was one of the first men in Eureka to buy an automobile and found the car of the utmost value to him in facilitating his work not only in the city, but also elsewhere. During 1903 he bought the Mowry shingle mill near Fieldbrook and engaged in the manufacture of shingles. It was not long before his clear sightedness saw the need of an association for the marketing of their product and with others he formed the Redwood Shingle Association, serving as a member of the board of directors. This association had more to do with the successful manufacture of shingles than any other one thing. Wishing to increase his output he erected two more mills in the same locality, where redwood shingles were manufactured for a decade or more, he personally superintending the large manufacturing business. After the disincorporation of the Mowry Milling Company he formed the Poland Shingle Company in partnership with his two sons. The mills had a very large capacity for three years, making 300,000 shingles per day, and it was the consensus of opinion he was the largest shingle manufacturer in Humboldt county of that day. However, in 1911, he retired from the personal supervision of the plants, but still retained his interests in the mills and property until 1913, when he disposed of his holdings.

The marriage of Mr. Poland united him with Miss Effie A. Mowry, a native of Athol, Mass., and to them were born two children, Ray A. and Lester, both successful business men of Eureka. His fraternities are Humboldt Lodge No. 77, I. O. O. F., Humboldt Encampment and Eureka Lodge No. 652, B. P. O. E., as well as the Humboldt club, and the philanthropies of these orders have received from him active cooperation. It is to such men as Henry A. Poland that Eureka and Humboldt county owe much of their present importance, for they are men who are ever ready to give of their time and means towards forwarding any movement that has for its aim the upbuilding of the county and its great natural resources, as well as improving and enhancing the commercial, social and moral conditions of its citizens.

From:
History of Humboldt County, California
With a Biographical Sketches
History by Leigh H. Irving
Historic Record Company
Los Angeles, California 1915


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