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The former Lau Seed building is expected to be razed soon. Fill has been hauled in around the structure.

Landmark will soon be gone

A Hwy. 14 landmark in Tracy will soon be no more.

Rogge Excavating of Ghent has received a demolition permit from the City of Tracy, to raze the former Lau Seed building.  Clearing the site would be the first step in the planned construction of a new Family Dollar Store.

Dave Bosacker, former owner of the property, said that he’d been told that the demolition would begin this week.  Efforts to reach Rogge Excavating early this week were unsuccessful.  The demolition permit was granted last week.

In January, a building permit was issued to Norwood Commercial Contractors of Bensenville, Il, for the construction of an 8,320 square foot Family Dollar store on the property.  Estimated construction cost is $450,000. The Atwater Group of Chicago, IL is listed as the property’s owner on the permit.

Multiple loads of fill material have been hauled to the 175x340-foot parcel of land.

Efforts to reach a representative of the Atwater Group regarding planned construction schedule for the Family Dollar were not successful this past week.


Lau Seed plant was cutting edge

When it opened in January of 1945, the Lau Seed plant embodied the latest science in seed technology.

The Jan. 12, 1945 edition of the Tracy Headlight-Herald declared that the new plant was “equipped with all-new and modern machinery for custom seed cleaning, grading and testing” and was set up for “germination and purity tests.”

The Lau Seed business was founded by Henry C. Lau, who came to the Tracy area in 1914 from Iowa.  According to the Headlight-Herald, over the next 30 years Lau  began implementing “ideas for developing high grade seeds,” while also establishing “the Cloverdale Farm” northeast of Tracy. 

In 1938, according to Merrill Starr’s history of Tracy,  Henry Lau  was among the first area farmers to plant hybrid corn.

By the time the new 40x50 foot seed house opened in 1945, sons Ewald, Albert and Milton had become involved in the Lau seed and farm business.   All three sons attended the University of Minnesota’s School of Agriculture in St. Paul, with Albert gaining experience in the university state seed laboratory in the division of Agronomy and Plant Genetics.

In 1945, the Lau Seed Company dealt with the following seeds: Minhybrid corn, Vicland oats, Tama oats, Rival wheat, Wisconsin 38 barley, Suy beans, Sudan grass, rape and garden seeds. Hay varieties included alfalfa, Alsike Clover, Red Clover, Sweet Clover, Brome Grass,  Blue Grass, Timothy, and Millet.  Agents handled the Lau & Lau hybrid seed,  across the country.

In 1967, Henry Lau was honored as Tracy’s outstanding senior citizen.

The seed plant was eventually sold to the Farmers Coop Elevator, which continued to operate the seed cleaning facility.  The property was later sold to Dave Bosacker, who operated an auction business at the site.