compiled by Columbian staff in 1989

An only-in-America, rags-to-riches tale is the story of Morris Wolf, a poor immigrant from Europe who worked hard and found success in Clark County.

Wolf was a penniless Polish immigrant who came to Vancouver in 1919 to open a one-pump gasoline station on lower Main Street. When he died here on May 14, 1981, he was chairman of the board of two businesses he had founded, as well as a third corporation, Wolf's Investment Co.

Wolf was born in Cheremonshno, Poland, on Dec. 20, 1897, and immigrated to New York City as a teen-ager. Speaking only Polish, some German and a little Hebrew, he worked at a box factory for $6 a week and saved enough money to head west to Portland.

In May 1919, Wolf sank his meager savings into a rundown gasoline station at Sixth and Main. America's love affair with the automobile was just beginning, and Wolf expanded and prospered.

Although his two sons, Martin and Les, took over the running of the business in the later years, Wolf never retired and continued as chairman of the board until his death.

Return to profiles