What Happened to Minneapolis-made Cigars?

In light of the tobacco use policy of the Minneapolis park board, which essentially prohibits the use of tobacco in most park areas, I had to chuckle at the entry in the proceedings of the  Board of Park Commissioners for April 19, 1916—almost 95 years ago.

Mr. A. B. Weigel appeared that day before the park board as secretary of the Cigar Makers’ Union—Local No. 77 of the Cigar Makers’ International Union of America, according to the Minneapolis Tribune April 20, 1916—to ask that the park board, as far as possible, sell only Minneapolis union-made cigars at park refectories. On the spot the park board adopted a resolution instructing the manager of refectories to, as much as possible, purchase and enhance the sale of products manufactured in Minneapolis.

What surprised me about that news is not that Minneapolis park refectories sold cigars, but that cigars were made in Minneapolis — enough of them that local cigar-makers were unionized.

Current limits on tobacco use in Minneapolis parks went into effect July 1, 2010.

Of course whenever I’m curious about anything from our city’s or state’s past I go to the photo collection of the Minnesota Historical Society to see if there are pictures. Naturally, when I entered the search term “cigar” I found a number of interesting photos. Here are two.

J. W. Pauly Cigar Company, 1226 Washington Avenue North, ca. 1895 (Minnesota Historical Society)

J. W. Pauly Cigar Company cigar makers, perhaps members of Local 77 Cigar Makers’ International Union of America, ca. 1895 (Minnesota Historical Society)

David C. Smith


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