History of Inter-State Motor Freight System- Part One

March 1936- Inter-State and Consolidated Freight Co. had combined operations in Detroit, Michigan in the Star Terminal Warehouse at 7831 West Fort Street.

August 1936-a new $115,000 terminal being built in Chicago, Illinois

November 1936- Indianapolis terminal located at 333 West Ohio Street, M. J. Steffanl, former terminal manager, has been appointed district traffic manager, to be in charge of supervision of terminals in Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Muncie, Dayton, Cincinnati, Louisville and Evansville.

June 1937- Extensive remodeling is in progress at the former Wavelly Company factory at 135 South East Street in Indianapolis for new terminal. Inter-State has 60 terminals over its 20,000 miles of routes and has 1,970 tractor trailer units in the fleet. W.F.Drohan elected Vice President and General Manager of Western Division.

August 1937- Eastern Michigan Freight Lines subsidiary uses The Van Company to handle local freight in the Michigan cities of Muskegon, Grand Rapids and Holland.

April 1938- moved into large terminal in Detroit at the corner of Monroe and St. Aubin Avenue, formerly occupied by Detroit Union Railway.

By end of 1938 the Inter-State system included Central Michigan Trucking Inc, Eastern Michigan Freight Lines and Inter-State Motor Freight. Combined, the carriers serve 600 Michigan points and has routes and terminals in 16 states.

Statistics for the year 1939-

  • 37,756 miles of regular routes
  • $996,768 total assets (not including intangible assets such as goodwill)
  • 34,496,035 intercity miles operated
  • $6,589,362 total operating revenue
  • $3,874,674 spent on purchased transportation from leased owner operators
  • $323,727 net income after all expenses
  • 529 employees
  • Inter-State had 49 terminals in 1939-
    9 in Michigan: Battle Creek, Detroit, Flint, Grand Haven, Grand Rapids, Ionia, Jackson, Lansing, Muskegon, Pontiac
    6 in Illinois:Chicago, East Moline, Moline, North Chicago, Rockford, Waukegan
    6 in Ohio: Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dayton, Toledo, Youngstown
    5 in New York: Albany, Buffalo, New York City, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica
    4 in Indiana: Evansville, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Muncie, South Bend
    4 in Wisconsin: Beloit, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Racine
    3 in Iowa: Cedar Rapids, Des Moines: Waterloo
    2 in Pennsylvania: Philadelphia, Pittsburgh
    1 in Maryland: Baltimore
    1 in Massachusetts: Boston
    1 in Kentucky: Louisville
    1 in Minnesota: Minneapolis
    1 in New Jersey: Newark
    1 in Missouri: St. Louis

  • In December 1939 Inter-State was accused of attempting to operate a monopoly in the trucking business. The company controls through subsidiaries Associated Truck Lines, Consolidated Freight Company and Clover Leaf Freight Lines, Inc.

1940-Revenues were $9,907,202

1942- Began serving St. Louis with a terminal at 1600 North 8th Street.

January 1943- Purchased the Motor Freight division of Indiana Railroad, serving 50 points in Indiana and also serving Louisville, Kentucky.

On February 6, 1948 fire destroyed the terminal in Cleveland, Ohio used by Interstate, Akron-Chicago Transportation and Summit Fast Freight. Thirteen trailers were also destroyed.

For the year 1950 the company ranked as the third largest Class 1 common carrier, with $20 million in Revenues, operating 675 tractors and 1200 trailers in over the road service, with 50 terminals.

As reported in the September 1952 issue of Commercial Car Journal, Interstate Motor Freight System completed a new $275,000 terminal in Buffalo, New York at 519 Hopkins Street and at the same time the company that services Interstate equipment named Coder Service Inc. started construction on a $60,000 garage at 420 Hopkins Street.

January 1954-New terminal opened in Kokomo, Indiana at 110 East Morgan Street

January 1955- The Company began operating the largest teletype system in the trucking industry that links all of the 51 terminals.

June 1957- New terminal opened in St. Louis, Missouri on a 5 acre site, with 35 doors at 4600 North Grand Street. The terminal is the southwestern terminus of the 18 state system. Interstate has a fleet of 1465 trailers.

1959-Acquired Prucka Transportation, Inc. of Omaha, Nebraska with terminals in Cheyenne, Chicago, Denver, Fort Morgan, Lincoln, Kansas City, North Platte, Omaha, Scottsbluff, Sidney, Sioux City and Sterling.

1962- Revenues hit $56,621,187 with net income of $1,833,913. Also in 1962 the company announced it was building a 70 door terminal in Toledo, Ohio on a 14 acre site at 3235 Nebraska Avenue at Ryder Street. The firm has 70 terminals, 700 tractors, 1700 trailers and 1,000 city trucks.

1967 Revenues were $66,275,000. In December announced plans to move Bedford, Pa terminal to a new facility in Pittsburgh

September 1970- Announced a massive order of trucks, tractors and trailers for its fleet. Included in the purchase are: 320 White 7466 tandem axle COE tractors, 50 Mack F737 COE tractors, 85 Ford F750 single axle tractors, 15 Ford LNT900 tandem axle conventional tractors, 29 Ford C700 straight trucks, 150 Monon trailers, 150 Highway trailers, 100 Fruehauf trailers, 100 Brown trailers and 50 Struck trailers.

October 1984- Bankruptcy sale begins at former terminals:

Grand Rapids, Michigan headquarters at 110 Ionia Street

Grand Rapids, Michigan terminal at 3890 Eastern Avenue SE

Toledo, Ohio terminal at 3235 Nebraska Avenue

Lansing, Michigan terminal at 4425 Creyts Street

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania terminal at 2931 East Tioga Street


5 thoughts on “History of Inter-State Motor Freight System- Part One

  1. Thank you for sharing the story. Every once in a blue moon I search the Internet looking for information on interstate motor freight systems. Haven’t seen yours until today. You titled this article as part one. Do you have any more information on this trucking company?


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