History of Adkins Transfer Co. Inc.


By 1950 Adkins was operating 100 vehicles with terminals in Nashville, Indianapolis, Louisville, and Chicago. A turn-around point was located in Evansville, Indiana and a garage was located there.

Company was issued a certificate by the Interstate Commerce Commission on March 11, 1938 to transport general commodities between Nashville, Tennessee and Chicago, Illinois via the Indiana points of Seymour, Franklin, Indianapolis, Lafayeete, Kentland, and Gary; and Illinois points of Joliet, Chicago Heights and Melrose Park. The operating certificate also Included the following Indiana intermediate points to be served; Austin, Seymour, Columbus, Franklin, Greenwood, Indianapolis, Lebanon, Lafayette, Fowler, Kentland and Hammond. Bowling Green, Kentucky is to be served with south-bound traffic only. Distance on this route was around 590 miles.

A list of employees at the Louisville terminal was complied from the 1947 City Directory. At the time Adkins had a terminal in Louisville at 828 South Floyd Street. Employees included Herman Weixler, Vice President Of Louisville operations, Mary L Willett as clerk and drivers Cletus Hanka, Ernest G Hanka, Garland B Humphrey, And John Linker.

On March 28, 1939 a route was authorized between Nashville, Tennessee and Chicago, Illinois via Hopkinsville, Kentucky, Evansville and Kentland, Indiana. No service to intermediate points was included . This route was about 440 miles in length, utilizing the use of US Hwy 31 and provided a second north-south route for the company, and with the shorter length could be a faster lane to Chicago on through freight.

Also in early 1939 Adkins applied to the ICC to acquire the routes of Herbert C Elliott of Mount Vernon, Indiana. There were several routes including one between New Albany and Richmond, Indiana along the eastern border of the state, and four small routes between Indianapolis and several points south of the city around Seymour. This purchase gave Adkins more coverage in southeast Indiana along the first route granted to Adkins the year before.

In the 1945 Statistics Of Class 1 Common Carriers as Reported By The ICC, the following facts are presented as to the size of Adkins Transfer:

Miles of Regular Routes-945

Total Assets (not including intangible property)-$171,506

Total Revenues-$524,825

Total Expenses-$490, 533

Net Income-$24,179

Number of Employees-81

Total Compensation-$196,930

Number of Intercity Power Units-37

Total Vehicle Miles in Intercity Service-1,893,563

Freight Revenue per Intercity mile-,277

Total Expenses per Intercity Mile-.259

According to a 1946 copy of Chicago Motor Freight Guide the company maintained terminals in Chicago, Indianapolis, and Nashville. Listed in that directory were the following points served from the Chicago, Illinois terminal:

  • Kentucky-Bowling Green (volume shipments only, LTL via Louisville), Louisville
  • Indiana-Austin, Batesville, Bedford, Beech Grove, Bloomington, Brazil, Bridgeport, Charleston, Columbus, Connersville, Crawfordsville, Decatur, Franklin, French Lick, Greencastle, Greenfield, Greenwood, Indianapoils, Knightstown, Lafayette, Lawrenceburg, Lebanon, Liberty, Medora, New Albany, New Castle, Orleans, Paoli, Pendleton, Richmond, Seymour
  • Illinois-Joliet

In 1950 the company began using a new $65,000 terminal and later that year began building a new maintenance shop. Company operates 15 trucks, 40 tractors and 60 trailers. Has a turnaround point and garage in Evansville, Indiana.

In 1953 the company purchased an 80 by 165 foot tract of land adjoining the terminal for parking, with plans for future shop building on the property. Also in 1953, Adkins moved to a 14 door terminal in Louisville at 1601 North Western Parkway.

1963 Revenues were $1.8 million with net loss of $11,000

1964-165 total employees with 50 in Nashville.

Gateway Transportation acquired the company in mid-1965, operating it as a division called Adkins Cargo Express.

In 1968 the Nashville, TN phone book showed a terminal address of623 4th Av South.

3 thoughts on “History of Adkins Transfer Co. Inc.

  1. Do you have any pictures of the Nashville tn terminal in the 50s and 60s my dad was the mechanic there for years was a personal friend of Howard Adkins. Thank you!


    1. First of all thanks for posting a comment on the site. You have really been reading some of my older articles to come up with that request! I don’t have any photos of Adkins Terminals or equipment but. Wish I did! I have reached out to some who may have what you are looking for. If they have it I will post and let you know. Thanks again and keep reading!


    2. My father was the terminal manager in Nashville. I have some pictures of the terminal. I’ll have to look for them. My father’s name was James Judd.
      Brenda Judd Saunders


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