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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

KNIOLA, MICHAEL P. - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

KNIOLA, MICHAEL P. (16 Sept. 1859-17 Sept. 1944), prominent businessman in Cleveland's Polish community, was born in Samostrzel, Poland to Peter and Anna Nowakowski Kniola. He immigrated to Spotswood, N.J. in 1873 and moved to Cleveland in 1880, working at Cleveland Rolling Mill Co. He continued his education at Broadway Night School, and eventually became a mill foreman. In 1886 Kniola opened a grocery store and, using the store as a base, provided other services to the Polish community: advancing credit, renting lodgings, selling insurance and real estate, and, working as a labor broker, finding jobs for immigrants. He sold money orders and arranged steamship passages, organizing Kniola Travel Bureau in 1890, which was so successful by 1900 that he sold his grocery and concentrated on the travel business until the late 1920s, when he turned it over to his son, Raymond.

Kniola helped organize Cleveland's first Polish newspaper, Polonia w Ameryce, in 1892. In 1893 he began the Polish Republican Club; he also was a director of the Polish-American Chamber of Commerce, an administrator of probate court, and ran for city council in 1909. Kniola helped organize the Knights of St. Casimir, and was a director of both the Polish Alliance of America and the Polish Roman Catholic Union of the U.S. He was a purchaser, incorporator, and president of Polish Falcon Hall and was director and treasurer of Polish Falcon Nest 141 (see SOKOL POLSKI). Kniola was also an organizer and trustee of ST. STANISLAUS CHURCH. In 1880 he married Mary Skarupski and they had 7 children: Caroline, Benjamin, John B., Raymond J., Celia, Casimer, and Joseph M. Kniola died in Cleveland and was buried in St. Joseph's Cemetery.

Coulter, Charles W. The Poles of Cleveland (1919).

Kniola Travel Bureau Records, WRHS.

Last Modified: 17 Jul 1997 04:16:35 PM

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