Saturday, April 7, 2012

Maybe Sesame Seed Bun but No Special Sauce

Meanwhile back in the warehouse district, we've got the McDonald Bros. Co. a wholesaler of china, crockery and glassware.  It was the business of Matthew McDonald "who for a considerable period was one of the owners of an extensive wholesale and retail china, crockery and glassware." He was born in Pennsylvania in 1848 to Irish immigrant parents and started his china business there before relocating to Minneapolis in 1884. It sounds like they were on Nicollet first, but moved down Fifth Street to this location near First Avenue, where they apparently expanded into retail. Matthew died in 1910, leaving the business in his brother's hands.

Members of the McDonald family apparently prospered enough to house themselves on the lovely Lake of the Isles Parkway, where Frank McDonald, a department manager, lived in 1917. Millard McDonald, one of Matthew's sons who graduated from law school and served in the aviation forces in the first world war, lived over on Blaisdell Avenue in 1910.

The building apparently had a major fire in 1895, which lead to the death of five firemen, at the time the deadliest fire in the history of the Minneapolis fire department.

There's a cool shot here and a close-up on Fickr and here's the building in 1902.

1 comment:

  1. Matthew McDonald was my great-grandfather, and he built this business with his brother, Maurice. Their family of nine children (including Matthew's father)arrived in Philadelphia from County Cork, Ireland in 1840 and settled in Silver Lake PA. They started the crockery business in Bradford PA before coming west.
    Matthew and Bridget McD had eight children, six of which survived to adulthood: Maurice, James, Mary, Walter, Millard, and Edith.
    The first store was located around 240 First Street south, and burned on June 27, 1895 ( my grandfather's birthday). The site is now a park. the brothers built a second store, 4 storys tall, around 240 First Street North, which I believe still stands. This building in the warehouse district was constructed in 1910. The family ran the business until about 1927, and sold it over to the Butler Brothers.
    Matthew and Bridget built a fashionable house in 1903 for their family at S. Blaisdell and 24th Street, which still stands. It contained six bedrooms and six bathroom for the family. His brother Maurice also built a house at 2200 S. Blaisdell, but that house is now longer there. My grandfather, James, resided in a house on Fremont Ave north of Douglas. I believe his cousin Frank may have lived on the parkway. Frank was married to Emma Gluek, whose family owned a brewery.
    There is a family mausoleum located in St. Mary's Cemetery, S. minneapolis where my great-grandparents, grandparents, their siblings, and Matthew's mother are all interned.

    Jim VC, Dec 2013