Greyhound Bus Company
(founded in Hibbing, 1914)
The world's largest intercity passenger carrier
It all started when Hibbing's Carl Eric Wickman and Andrew Anderson pooled their resources and bought a Hupmobile, hoping to sell it at a profit. When that plan failed, they decided to run the car as a "jitney," a passenger car used to shuttle folks between towns. The first route of Wickman and Anderson and their partner, C. A. A. Heed, was between Hibbing and Alice, another iron-mining town. They charged fifteen cents a trip; round-trip fare was a quarter.
Business was brisk, and soon the company began acquiring buses, running on fixed schedules, and merging with other jitney companies, changing names many times in the process. By 1922, Wickman had relocated to Duluth; he soon bought a number of sleek, gray buses, made in Michigan and nicknamed "greyhounds." Eight years and several mergers later, Wickman's coast-to-coast operation was renamed the Greyhound Corporation, with a running dog as its logo.
Greyhound stayed afloat during the Depression by showing the same entrepreneurial spirit that had marked its early days. In 1933, for example, the company became the official transportation carrier of the Century of Progress, held in Chicago. The company gambled on the success of the fair, reserving 2,000 hotel rooms and launching a campaign offering lodging and transportation to the fair on a single ticket. The promotion earned more than $500,000.
Over the years, Greyhound marked many more milestones, becoming the primary stateside carrier of troops during World War II, setting industry standards by being the first carrier to install such niceties as air conditioning and lavatories in its buses, and standing firm against racial discrimination among its workers and its riders.
In 1961, a group of activists known as the "Freedom Riders" boarded Greyhound and Trailway buses headed to southern states to protest state-sponsored segregation in interstate transportation facilities. Buses were firebombed and protesters stormed terminals, but the company, backed by Attorney General Robert Kennedy, continued its course. Later that year, the Interstate Commerce Commission outlawed segregation in interstate bus travel.
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