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 McIndoe bought out his partner and renamed the business M.S. Alexander Lumber Company. 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.
In 1971 John Alexander became the third generation owner of Alexander Lumber. He followed in his father’s footsteps by being an important business and community leader 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, the current owner of the lumber company, bought the business. With much foresight, over a period of thirteen years, land located just east of the lumber yard was purchased and in 2003 seven homes were removed and two large warehouses built. The company continues to grow and is proud of the services it offers the Owatonna community.
Alexander Lumber was established in 1883 and continues to operate at the same location where it was founded. The store is filled with history and memorabilia and we invite you to stop in and view the first wagons and sled as well as pictures showing the days of the horse and buggy. We are proud of our heritage and we look forward to continued service to Owatonna and Steele County.