Kruse-Gross Furriers stood at 3930 West 50th Street back in 1959 when this photo was taken for the tax assessor's office. I couldn't place the building, with a parking lot on one side, with anything that currently exists at 50th and France, but the phone directory told me that the address was now J. Novachis men's clothing store.
Let's take a look at Google maps street view of the store. I wouldn't have recognized it as the same building, but owner John Novachis assures me that it is.
Between John, phone directories and this little gem of a book From the Barber's Chair: 50th and France Avenue, 1936-1988 (by Vern Swanson as told to Tom Clark), I pieced together this history.
The building began its life as First Edina State Bank. When it moved out in 1955, Kruse-Gross Furriers moved in, with Gordon Kruse and Harvard Gross as owners. Kruse had previously worked for Schlampp's furs, based in Uptown.
Indeed, the building had a parking lot at the time to the west between it and neighboring grocery store, Hove's (which later became Lund's.)
For a bird's eye view of the development on this block, take a look at one of my favorite web sites, Historic Aerials. Between 1966 and 1979, a building was constructed in the parking lot.
Over the years, Kruse-Gross added a partner named Albrecht and eventually the name became simply Albrecht's. The business was owned by Paul Garrard when John Novachis, who worked down the street at Belleson's clothing store for 35 years, started his own business in the space six years ago.
I enjoyed chatting about history with John, who knows a lot about the changes at 50th and France after more than four decades in the neighborhood. Talking to people is one of the perks of my job and I had fun with this Photo Friday.
Happy Friday to you!
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