At the center of the American Dream is the home, and at the center of its creation or renovation is America’s lumberyard. Perry has seen its share of lumberyards come and go, and throughout this time the landscape of our town has evolved.
The first owner and operator of a lumberyard in Perry was Donald McColl. He began McColl Lumber in 1894 and concurrently owned the local grain elevator. McColl sold his lumber at 1023 Willis, which previously had been a hay barn and livery stable during the Civil War. After McColl’s death in 1924, his wife continued to conduct business until she sold to the F.K. Stokley Lumber Co., Aug. 1, 1928. Stokley Lumber was in this location for 78 years until Oct. 1, 2006 when it bought the East Perry Plaza and moved the business to its current location.
Around this same time two other entrepreneurs, Wimmer and Williams, began a lumberyard at First and Willis, which is now the current location of the Caboose. This business also changed hands many times as it was sold to Spahn and Rose and then to C.D. Marckres. This business — aptly named the Marckres Lumber and Coal Company — was extremely diversified, as many businesses of the time were, by selling coal and grain to local farmers and tradesmen. In 1923, the operation was sold to A.D. Franshan who formed the Perry Lumber Co. Franshan owned the business until 1943 when it was finally purchased by the Anderson Lumber Co. of Minneapolis, who operated it until its closing.
Denniston & Partridge Co. of Newton came to Perry in 1923, taking over the interests of Armour Grain Co. located between Second and Third Street and Pattee, the current location of Progressive Foundry’s warehouse. Denniston & Partridge had 35 locations with four being in Dallas County — Perry, Dawson, Linden and Van Meter — until closing in 1986.
In 1963, Circle B Lumber built a new lumberyard located on Perry’s western edge at 104 Willis Ave. Circle B closed a number of locations in 2002, Perry being one of them. In 2003, Quick Oil Co. bought the building and moved its business to the location.
Red Tag Lumber was located at the junctions of highways 141 and 169 east of Perry in the 1960s, until the housing crunch forced them to closed.
In the ’70s, Perry was a booming community with the Perry pork plant, Milwaukee Railroad and a number of manufacturing companies. People were migrating to Perry for jobs, which in turn led to a need for housing. For many years, Perry had three lumberyards to keep up with the growing housing demand. Now that need has decreased, but gratefully we still have Stokley Lumber that has served our community for more than 85 years.