Happy Publishing Day to Ingebretsen’s Nordic Marketplace: a Century of Family, at Home in South Minneapolis!
I (Laila Simon) am particularly excited that this new edition of the Ingebretsen’s anniversary book is finally out in the world. I spent time interviewing family members and poking through archival documents and photos – with a lot of help – to compile the full story of this family’s journey. My own grandparents immigrated to the West Coast from Norway in the 1950s and after promised jobs fell through, they started an import business and a store in Oregon called Gagga’s Imports. This is just one of the histories that connect me to the Ingebretsen’s story. I’m excited to share it with you.
Here’s an excerpt from the book – available to buy here! We hope you enjoy looking behind the scenes at how the store became what it is today.
“Karl Ingebretsen’s journey to America will sound familiar to those whose ancestors came from Norway or Sweden in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His experience was shared by hundreds of thousands of Scandinavians who left their home countries for what they hoped would be a better life in the United States. Karl was born in Sweden in 1882, of Norwegian parents, but lived in the Southern coastal town of Larvik, Norway, before emigrating and traveling west.
Working towards a life abroad was a common dream in Europe at the time, especially if work and food were scarce at home. The arrival of the “America letters” sent to families back in Northern Europe from earlier immigrants whipped up “America fever” and spurred many people to seek new opportunities in the United States. The eldest of six children, Karl left his entire family to live in America.
According to records at Ellis Island, he traveled to Liverpool, England, and boarded the S.S. Cedric on April 6, 1904. He landed in the United States nine days later. New York City, especially the borough of Brooklyn, was teeming with Norwegians and Swedes in those days. Karl soon got a job working on the docks, unloading banana boats.
Karl, whose name was later Americanized first to Charles and then to Charlie, soon decided the dockworker life was not for him and traveled farther west. He landed in Fargo, North Dakota. In the 1905 Fargo city directory, Charlie is listed as an employee of Skjold Brothers meat market. At that time, there were half a dozen meat markets in the growing city on the Red River. The Skjold Brothers’ store was at 308 Broadway, one of Fargo’s main streets. He stayed just long enough to learn the meat-cutting trade, around two years, and then headed south to Minneapolis.
In 1909, according to the Minneapolis city directory, Charlie worked for Berggren Brothers meat market and lived at 410 Cedar Avenue, in the heart of Minneapolis’ Scandinavian community. He switched to Wood Brothers meat market the following year and by 1915, Charlie and his partner, Nels Ahlm, owned their own meat market at 1808 Riverside & Cedar Avenue. Later, Charlie owned two additional meat markets, at 3021 27th Avenue South and one near 4th Avenue and Lake Street. He kept the store on 27th Avenue well into the 1930s (an advertisement from 1936 features specials at both stores). And in 1921, Charlie Ingebretsen bought and transformed the Model Bakery into the Model Meat Market at 1603 East Lake Street, the same location you know today.
Cedar Avenue was a hub for Scandinavian Americans; so much so that it became known as “Snoose Boulevard,” named after all the men using snuff (snus in Norwegian). In the early 20th century, Scandinavian immigrants frequented the shops, saloons, and dance halls on “Snoose Boulevard.” Seven Corners, the maze of streets where Cedar and Washington Avenues meet, was not far from the railroad stations that brought immigrants into the city. A century later, Cedar Avenue is still a gathering spot for a new immigrant community.”
Inside the book you’ll find more photographs, old advertisements, stories from the beloved staff and much more!