Max Harold Carol (1891 – 1970) left Poland in 1913, fleeing to America to evade a compulsory 25-year service in the Russian military. He first stayed in San Francisco, working as a salesman at the Emporium. In 1936 he made his way down to Mojave and opened a clothing store under the Alton-Kingston Hotel.
With the timing of his store’s opening coinciding with the Great Depression, a majority of his customers were gold miners and railroad workers. Even then, miners and railroad workers did not make much money. Due to the constraints of people’s finances at the time, Carol experienced stints of slow business. Despite this, his store became known for providing the best merchandise around and was often called “the friendliest store in the desert”. Carol’s son, Cyril, continued to operate the family business as a Western-wear shop from 1954 until 1995.
In addition to running this business, Carol was also a prominent community leader. He helped organize the Mojave Chamber of Commerce and acted as the first president of the Mojave Businessmen’s Association. He is also credited with starting the American Legion Club and the Lions Club, while also supporting the local Boy Scouts and Little Leagues. He played an integral part in several of the Mojave Gold Rush Days celebrations, as well.
Carol was a Jewish veteran of World War I, and as such, was an advocate for veteran’s rights and a strong supporter of several veterans’ organizations. Both his sisters, Bronia and Esther, were unfortunately killed in the German concentration camps during World War II. His involvement in war efforts during the Second World War was expressed through him opening up his shop as the headquarters of the draft board, which lasted until the Vietnam War.
"Gurba, Norma H. Legendary Locals of the Antelope Valley. Arcadia, 2013.
Photo courtesy of MOAH Collections"