During the 1930s and 1940s and again in the early 1950s, this Republican Party politician served as Mayor of Fort Wayne, Indiana. While in office, he brought about the construction of both a sewer system and an airport and also developed the Fort Wayne track of the Nickel Plate Railroad.
Shortly after taking office as mayor, he lowered taxes in the city of Fort Wayne.
In the early 21st century, many Indiana residents voted to name a Fort Wayne government building in honor of Baals, but the move was vetoed by city officials because of the unfortunate, humorous double meaning of the name Harry Baals. In the late 20th century, members of the Baals family began pronouncing their surname as 'Bales.'
He was married to Minnie Marie Baals from 1909 until 1936 and to Irene Baals until his death in 1954.
Baals and Ralph Tucker both served as mayors of Indiana cities during the mid-twentieth century.