Cedar Rapids Businessman-30 years

 Bio-Pen Pictures

who has completed a handsome residence on the corner of Willow and Cherry  Avenues, has been a resident of the Willows since November, 1887, when he purchased this place of seven and one-fourth acres, with the then existing improvements, for $9,500. The place is bearing fruit —590 prunes, 170 cherries, 60 apricots, and a family orchard of various trees. Mr. Polak was born near Olmitz, in Moravia, Austria, in 1824, where he was educated and lived until 1854. Being a man of liberal views and ideas somewhat at variance with those of the government under which he lived, he was obliged to leave his country rather suddenly, realizing on some of his property but abandoning a great deal. With his wife and $6,000 in cash, he embarked from Bremen on a small two-masted vessel, on which, after a very rough and dangerous voyage of eighty days, they arrived in Boston. They remained in Wisconsin during that winter, and removed to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in the spring of 1855. He engaged in farming, in which he lost most of his money. He then invested in the grocery trade, where by hard work and strict attention to business he became independent financially. About four years after his arrival in the United States he returned to Moravia, and having at this time taken out but his first papers, was not yet a citizen of the United States, but was enabled after much trouble to recover $3,000. Before accomplishing the settlement of matters, he was again forced to fly the country, and the $3,000 was forwarded to him at Bremen.

        Mr. Polak was engaged in business in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for over thirty years, first as a farmer, then for twenty years in the grocery business, and for ten years had a steam brick yard, dealing also in brick, lime, etc. He came to California some three years ago and traveled over the whole State, from Arizona to the Oregon line, deciding that when ready he would settle in the Santa Clara Valley.

        He married, in 1851, in Moravia, Theresa Kretzer, who died in June, 1886. They had one daughter, Frances, who married, in 1879, Joseph Heyck, of Racine, Wisconsin, and died in 1881, leaving an infant daughter, who lived only three months. Mr. Heyck died two years later of grief for the loss of his wife and child. Mr. Polak, being bereft of his family, in poor health, and well enough off in this world's goods, closed up his business affairs and made a visit to Europe, to his old home. While there he met and married his present wife, a beautiful and accomplished woman, Anna (Sigel) Polak, a native of Branders-in Elbe, Bohemia, who now presides over his beautiful California home. Before coming to America they made a three months' trip through Italy and a part of Germany.

        Mr. Polak is a man liberal in his political and religious views. He supported the Union enthusiastically during the Civil War, paying liberally toward the raising and equipment of troops in his section. He believes in the fullest protection of American industries.

Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated. - Edited by H. S. Foote.- Chicago:  The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888.

Pg. 509


SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight