history: since 1889

On February 9, 1889 the Wilbur Lumber Company purchased the land where Decorah Building Supplies now stands and opened for business.

William (Willie) Bernhart lngvoldstad came to work for Wilbur Lumber as a piler and bookkeeper, then on March 1, 1898 he started selling lumber on his own out of a RR car while he was working for Wilbur Lumber. On October 5, 1905 he partnered with Ed Hovden. And on March 14, 1910 Mr. lngvoldstad purchased the Wilbur Lumber Company.  After Mr. Ingvoldstad retired, his 3 sons took over the business.

Edward Frudden, of Dubuque IA, then leased it from the 3 Ingvoldstad sons, and bought it later.

In 1973 Dean Anfinson came to work at Frudden Lumber as assistant manager.  His hard work was rewarded by his promotion to manager in 1980.  Jean Anfinson also started part time in 1980.  In 1989 the Anfinsons purchased Frudden Lumber Co., eventually changing the name to Decorah Building Supply.  Jean took over the accounting and books full time.  Jake Jirak joined the company in 1993, and Tim Anfinson came to work for the family business in 1999.

There have been only four owners in 112 years!

The most distinguishing building on the site is the main storage shed.  The RR was very important to the lumber and coal business, as most homes used lumber and coal in those years. The RR tracks can still be seen running down the center of the main storage shed. One of the most notable historical features of the main storage shed are the clerestory windows on the east and west sides. This is a building type common in lumber yards and is based on the early Christian Basilica.  There were only two original lumber yards in Decorah. Of the two, only this one remains. The other building remains, but is used by another business.

This historical summary borrows generously from a site inventory done for the Decorah Historic Preservation Commission by Paul Hexom and David Wadsworth.  Our thanks to them for granting us permission to use their work.

© 2011 Decorah Building Supply | 302 Washington St. Decorah IA 52101