Oversons Lumber Company building sold.

The downtown Sleepy Eye building which has housed a lumber business for over 130 years, and has been empty and silent since the end of 2016, has a new owner—the neighbor across the railroad tracks, the Mark Thomas Company.

In 1887, brothers Jacob and Leonard Lampert purchased a lumber yard in Sleepy Eye, and three years later purchased their next one in Mankato. From a history of the company found at lampertlumber.com: “The brothers were able to sell high quality lumber to the local farmers and other tradesmen. By the late 1800s, the Interstate Commerce Commission required that small towns should be built every six miles alongside the railroad tracks. Each community usually just had a general store, a grain elevator and a lumber yard. This created a great area of opportunity for the Lampert brothers who were able to build 10 yards by the turn of the century.”

The brothers later split the company and the Sleepy Eye yard eventually became a Lampert Building Center. In the early 1990s Lamperts closed the store and it was subsequently purchased by Overson Lumber Company of St. James. The long story of a lumber business on that corner came to an end when Oversons announced they were closing the store last December.

The location and condition of the business place was too much for Mark Beito, owner of Mark Thomas Company, to pass up. The business, which has grown to occupy several buildings on Pine Street as new products and endeavors have been added, will make good use of the former lumberyard. But for what? Beito said they are not quite sure. “In the past [as they grew] it seemed as if we were always one building behind,” he said. “Now we are ahead by one building and still deciding what exactly we’ll use it for.”

With the Overson’s sign removed and straggly foliage cleaned up, the location is ready for action. And, it is this reporter’s hunch that action will be evident soon.