Fred B. Pohlman, Cigar Maker
by Earl Yost

Earl Yost was staff writer at The Manchester Evening Herald, where this article appeared on November 15, 1956.
It is reprinted on page 35 of the Historical Society's book Old Manchester II�The Storytellers, available for sale in our Museum Store.

"Days of the specialized business is gone," Fred B. Pohlman of 46 Hudson St. mused as he prepared to lock the door last Wednesday afternoon on Pohlman's Cigar Store on Depot Square after 75 years of continuous business. The cigar store was the oldest in point of operations on the Square and one of the oldest businesses in Manchester. Cigars rolled by member of the Pohlman family have been sent to customers from Maine to California. There won't be any more hand-wrapped cigars produced by the Pohlmans, and all that remains of what was once a flourishing business is many pleasant memories of past service and the rare cigar store wooden Indian figure which measures seven feet and is now on display at the Pohlman home porch on Hudson Street... The wooden Indian, which is hand carved, was purchased by Fred W. B. Pohlman, Fred's father, in New York in 1881 � the same year the Pohlmans opened their first cigar store at 22 Depot Square.

Fred W.B. Pohlman made cigars for 72 years before retiring last August. He is now 86 years old and has been happily united in marriage for 52 years. His birthday falls on his wedding anniversary, June 2. Fred Sr. was, in his day, one of the top producers of hand-made cigars in the East. He averaged between 250 and 300 cigars a day, and made as many as 350 in one day's toil. He started making cigars at the ripe old age of 14, and smoked on the average of six a day ever since he was 15. Three generations of Pohlmans were engaged in the cigar making trade. One of the top "brand named" Pohlman-rolled cigars was the Silver Wave, which was the title of a piece of music that years ago was featured by most piano teachers.

Both shade-grown and broad-leaf tobacco were used at the North End store. The Pohlman store was in three locations, starting at 22 Depot Square, later moving to 241 North Main Street, and in 1940 the business was moved to the site until liquidation at 209 North Main Street on Depot Square, the site of the old Cowles Hotel block...Fred B. rolled cigars just five years, although spent 23 years, since 1933, handling over-the-counter sales and the book work for his father.

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