Witt’s Market House: The Future of Minnesota Grocery

Witt Mkt Image 1

This photo shows the chaos that once was the second floor of Witt’s Market House. Witt’s Market had previously been a well established family owned meat market before expanding to a new retail space in 1919 at 705-09 Hennepin Ave S. The new store was advertised as a new modern food market, which included produce, meat, dairy, baked goods, new plumbing, electricity and the most exciting technological advancement of the day-cash registers and computing scales.

The Witt’s Market House was a massive building. The store was four stories high and 7,500 square feet. A large refrigerator was housed in the basement along with the store’s personal team of butchers. Meat would be cut to order, and sent up to the main floor in elevators. The main floor was a typical market where groceries were purchased. Pictured is the second floor, where shoppers could buy larger quantities of produce (by the dozen or by the case). The in-house sausage factory was also located on the second floor. The third floor was filled with offices and restroom facilities (including showers and baths for employee use). The fourth floor was dedicated to the bakery. In a time where Minneapolis residents had to visit a butcher for their meat and a baker for their bread, having all the facilities of a modern market in one building was quite the luxury.

Witt Mkt Image 2

Witt’s Market House closed its doors in 1968 and was replaced with a novelty store called Now and Then. The novelty store struggled to find a use for the massive building where locals had once visited to do their shopping. The building still stands at the corner of 7th St and Hennepin Ave. S in Minneapolis. You can learn more about the Witt’s Market House at the Hennepin History Museum.

Sources:

Upham, Daniel. “Now and Then Caters to Young-at-Heart Taste,” The Minneapolis Star, October 8, 1969. https://startribune.newspapers.com/image/189170432/?terms=%22Witt’s%2BMarket%2BHouse%22

Witt’s Market House. “Witt’s New Market: C. F. Witt, 705-707-709 Hennepin Avenue To Open January 3.” Advertisement. The Minneapolis Morning Tribune, January 2, 1919. https://www.newspapers.com/image/180813112/?terms=%22Witt’s%2BMarket%2BHouse%22

Blog post written by Bridget Jensen, Archive Volunteer

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