Huntington, WV Black History

Leonard C. Polley

Chef Guyan County Club

Leonard C. Polley was a beloved chef to the many doctors, dentists, lawyers and business owners in Huntington and in the Fairfield community.

Born in 1901 in Lawrence County, Ohio, near the area of Macedonia Hill, which was a community of freed slaves, Polley moved to Huntington in the 1920s. His birthplace remained special to him, however. He always tended to the graves of his ancestors near the still-standing Macedonia Church and Cemetery.

He began working as the only chef at Guyan Golf and Country Club. His mother, Daisy Polley, also worked at the Club and prepared all of the salads.

In addition to being the chef, Polley was in charge of hiring all of the service staff and often served as the Club’s general manager. He employed several Fairfield community members with their primary or secondary job.

Polley’s family members recall him working 12 hours a day and six days a week without ever complaining. And he still time for community and family, as he would often cook at his Fairfield home and invite neighbors or Club members to eat with him and his family.

In 1955, Polley was able to buy his first home at 1946 9th Ave., which is the same land where the new Mayor Joseph L. Williams Jr. Fire Station is now located.

Polley remained as the only chef at Guyan until his passing in 1968. Family members recall that on the day of his passing, he arrived at work, greeted everyone, entered the locker room area to change clothes and passed away preparing to do what he always loved.

 

 

 

 

 

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