Albert Norby, La Crosse Small Businessperson
(Written by Megan of the Archives staff)
In the La Crosse city directory for 1897 Albert Norby was working for Jos. Schams Meat Market and boarding at 929 Mississippi Street. By 1903 he was the owner of the Albert Norby Meat Market at 929 Mississippi Street, as shown in this photograph of the A. Norby Meat Market.
Albert Norby and John Bezpaletz, circa 1903
A meat market at that time would not have a meat case, with everything sealed in plastic, the way a modern supermarket displays meat. The butcher who operated the meat market would often buy meat animals on the hoof or purchase a whole carcass, do all his own cutting and trimming, and generally sell the customer what they wanted (and often what they asked him to cut) wrapped in paper.
By 1913 Albert Norby and Jos Beutler owned a meat shop at 1204 West Avenue and by 1915 Albert Norby was back in business by himself. By 1924 Norby was selling meats and groceries (generally staple goods like flour, canned goods, packaged goods and possibly bread) at 1804 Jackson, where he also had his house. By 1934 he had moved his businesses, now a confectionary, to 1802 Jackson Street.
Why there was a donkey with John Bezpaletz as a passenger in front of the A. Norby Meat Market is a good question. A joke? Playing around? An advertising stunt? (Though seeing that photograph would make me think twice before patronizing A. Norby’s Meat Market.) No one knows.
For this and other historic La Crosse photographs come down to the La Crosse Public Library Archives.