With a wagon full of lumber, McIndoe Alexander, at the age of 23, left his home and job in Wausau, Wisconsin and headed West to start a lumber yard. After arriving in Mankato, MN he decided to backtrack to a town he had previously passed through. Owatonna, with its rich agriculture and a population of 3,000 became his home.
McIndoe started his business in 1883; naming it Wausau Lumber Company, at the time it was the third lumber and coal yard in Owatonna.
The lumberyard thrived and within eight years (1891) McIndoe bought out his partner and renamed the business M.S. Alexander Lumber Company. That same year, McIndoe Alexander married and built a house at 128 West Rice Street in Owatonna.
Embracing technology, McIndoe owned one of the first automobiles in Owatonna, had one of the first business phones (phone number 61), and brought Owatonna its first delivery truck (which has been donated to the Owatonna Historical Society).
After McIndoe's death in 1927, the lumberyard was taken over by McIndoe's sons, Mark and Donald Alexander. Mark operated the lumberyard while Donald handled the Alexander Farm, located west of Owatonna, now the current industrial park. Both the farm and lumberyard offices were located in the store.
The family purchased the National Farmer's Bank when it collapsed due to the Agricultural Depression of 1926. Mark Alexander became the bank's President for some time and served on the bank board for 17 years. It is believed the Alexanders sold the bank around 1950.
Mark and Donald Alexander owned a plot of land "south of town". When they began developing the property the two streets that ran through the development were dedicated after their own family names. The McIndoe and Murray streets in Owatonna were named after their father, McIndoe, as well as the mother's family name.
The family farm was also sold sometime in the 1950s and most of that land is currently now the Industrial Park in Owatonna.
In 1971, John Alexander became the third generation owner of Alexander Lumber. He followed in his father's and grandfather's footsteps by being an important business and community leader in Owatonna.
John's grandfather, McIndoe, served as President of the Owatonna Hospital Board until his death. He was succeeded by his wife, then their son Mark, and then Mark's son John, capping a 57 year stretch. John Alexander was also the third generation to attend Pillsbury College in Owatonna.
In 1976 the store was remodeled, adding a large hardware line, additional lumber inventory and a decorating center.
In 1988, after John Alexander's sudden death, Dennis Meillier bought the business. Denny remodeled the store to its current look and he and his son, Josh Meillier, are the owners to this day.
With much foresight, over a period of thirteen years, land located just east of the lumber yard was purchased (2003).
In 2003, seven homes were removed from the newly purchased land and two large warehouses built.
The company continues to grow and is proud of the services it offers the Owatonna community. Established in 1883 and still operating at our originally established location allows us to remain a humble company. At Alexander Lumber, our store is filled with history, all of it easily visible via the memorabilia and photographs displayed throughout the building. We invite you to stop in and view the first delivery wagons and sled, as well as pictures showing the days of the horse and buggy.