Biography of James L. Holan
Cuyahoga County, OH Biographies

JAMES L. HOLAN, founder and president of the James Holan Manufacturing Company, manufacturers of commercial automobile bodies (Plant No. 1) and of high grade flooring (Plant No. 2), has gained for himself success and prestige as one of the vigorous and progressive business men of Cleveland.

Mr. Holan was born at Velky-osek, Bohemia, on the 15th of June, 1885, and is a son of Michael and Mary (Rouny) Holan, both representatives of old and sterling Bohemian families. Michael Holan learned in the establishment of his father the trade of cabinet maker, and after the death of the father he assumed control of the business, with which he continued his active association fifty four years. He is now living retired in his old home town in Bohemia, and is venerable in years. His wife died March 15, 1893.

In his native place James L. Holan gained his youthful education in the public schools, and thereafter he served a thorough apprenticeship to the trade of blacksmith and carriagemaker. He continued his residence in his native land until 1906, when, about the time of attaining to his legal majority, he came to the United States and made Cleveland his destination. The day after his arrival in this city he went to work at his trade, and the success and advancement that have marked his course in the intervening years stand in evidence of his energy, ability and progressiveness. In 1908 Mr. Holan engaged independently in business by opening a blacksmith and wagon shop at the corner of Clark Avenue and West Forty first Street. Of the prosperity that attended this initial venture it is unnecessary to offer further evidence than that eight years later he had thirty men in his employ and was doing a large volume of business. He had no clerical or office force, but personally gave supervision to all details of his successful enterprise.

In 1918 Mr. Holan organized the James Holan Manufacturing Company, and erected a manufacturing plant at 3809 Clark Avenue. Here he engaged in the manufacturing of commercial automobile bodies, with an average of 100 employes. In 1920 the company erected and equipped what is conceded to be the most important plant in Northern Ohio devoted to the manufacturing of flooring, and this establishment is the central stage of a large and prosperous manufacturing business. As president of the company Mr. Holan has active charge of both of these modern manufacturing plants, and to him is primarily due the successful upbuilding of the two thriving enterprises. He is a valued member of the Cleveland Chamber of Industry, and in a fraternal way he is affiliated with the Knights of Pythias.

Mr. Holan married Miss Ella Beneda, who was born in Pilsen, Bohemia, a daughter of Joseph Beneda. Mrs. Holan came to Cleveland in the year 1906, and here her marriage was solemnized. Mr. and Mrs. Holan have two children, Ella Mary, aged ten years (1922), and Howard James, aged eight years.

A History of Cuyahoga County
and the City of Cleveland
By: William R. Coates
The American Historical Society
Chicago and New York, 1924

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