Grocery shopping in the 1880s

WHITTIER – Minneapolis during the 1880s was an exciting place. It was one of the fastest growing cities in the nation, and new residents arrived daily to build a new city on the prairie. Some stayed, establishing businesses that would stand the test of time. Others came for a few years before moving on to new adventures.

The James & Falk Grocers was one of the shorter-lived endeavors; the store, located at 2605 Stevens Ave., only lasted a few years in the mid-1880s. Even after James and Falk split ways locals suffered no loss in food, however; small neighborhood grocers remained a commercial corridor staple well into the twentieth century. Note the horse-drawn cart on the left; it was the store’s official delivery truck, bringing groceries directly to the homes of neighborhood residents when requested.

Photograph courtesy Hennepin History Museum. For more information about the museum and its offerings visit

Cedar Imboden Phillips is executive director of the Hennepin History Museum.