Matthew Hall Lumber Starts – On ‘This Date In Central Minnesota History’
ST. CLOUD – July 29th, 1889 – Mathew Hall makes his first sale
Mathew Hall emigrated from Germany in 1882. When he arrived here he began working for Lt. Gov. Charles Gilman, who gave him in lumber in exchange for wages. Gilman encouraged Hall to open his own lumber yard. When he had a small supply, Hall rented and later purchased two lots near Seventh Avenue and Second Street North. His business continues in this same place today! The first sale, on July 29, 1889, was for $2.80. St. Cloud was rapidly expanding at this time, and there was great demand for lumber. Thus, Hall’s business prospered. “The key to Mr. Hall’s success is his perfect honesty. When he was a boy, I would have trusted him with every cent I had in the world; and the years have proved that I was justified in my faith”, Charles Gilman, 1915.
Though Hall’s son Al became president in 1948, the founder continued to maintain a presence at his company until he died in 1958 at the age of 95. After Al, the business passed hands to another of Mathew Hall’s sons (Lawrence) and a nephew (Jim). Then in 2004, Jim’s sons Loren, John, and Dan bought the business and became the 4th generation to run the company.
Through the hard times of the Great Depression and long winters, Mathew Hall has kept going by selling coal and later oil for home heating. Then in the 1970’s, the company began to focus more on contractor sales. They diversified further in the 1980’s by expanding and opening a component manufacturing plant and distribution center in St. Joseph.
Four generations later (and in the same building), Mathew Hall continues to serve contractors and homeowners alike with the same philosophy from 1889: “Treat each costumer like a personal friend.”
Thanks to Sarah Warmka and the Stearns History Museum for their help with our series, “This Date In Central Minnesota History”, on WJON.