Historic North Loop

Loop Back: Meatpacking Plant On Washington

While shoppers in recent years have visited 211 North Washington for things like skirts and sweaters, it was all about steaks, spare ribs and other cuts of meat at this same address for more than 65 years.

From 1884 to 1950, it was a meatpacking plant, which means the company would receive train car loads of animal carcasses from local stockyards, process them onsite and sell the cuts to retail customers at their own meat counter at the front of the business.

There were also cheap furnished rooms for rent upstairs for laborers including some of the company’s butchers.

Marcus Miller and a 1903 ad

Marcus Miller, a Swiss immigrant, founded the company, originally named Miller’s Meats and later renamed Minneapolis Packing Company. His nephew, Jacob Ruedy, was an active partner in the business.

1905 holiday lard giveaway

They were especially proud of their lard, a popular cooking fat at the time, which they produced from the excess animal fat. For the holiday season in 1905, the company gave a free pail of it with every purchase.

Just two doors down, at 215 N Washington, was Williams Grocery, owned by James T. Williams who would invent Creamettes while at that location. The two businesses appeared to form a bit of a partnership, as they bought joint advertising for years in newspapers.

The plant would occasionally face some criminal activity along Washington Avenue.

In 1914, a gang of safecrackers pulled the company’s safe back into the sausage room and helped themselves to some canned meats while they pried open the safe containing more than $1,000 (the equivalent of $31,000 in 2023).

The Minneapolis Daily Times even wrote in article in 1905 about a stray dog that wandered into the shop and stole a steak–only to have the steak snatched away by a much bigger St. Bernard.

Marcus Miller retired in 1908 from the business he founded and turned it over two his sons, Otto and Marcus Jr. The last time the company’s name appeared in city directories and newspaper ads was 1950.

We have much more neighborhood history in our Historic North Loop section.

By Mike Binkley, North Loop volunteer

1990s image from Hennepin County Library


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