- In the early days of common carriers there were truck terminals close to downtown areas with multiple tenants. Similar to an office building that would be home to different companies and individuals these truck terminals would have been rented to firms of all sizes. In some locales these facilities were named Union Truck Terminal. The largest of these type terminals was at 3333 South Iron Street in Chicago, Illinois. I wrote about it in one of my posts in the first year of this blog.
Louisville, Kentucky had one of these terminals, although in a much smaller size than the one in Chicago. The Louisville location was named C & W Terminal Depot and its address was 110 North Floyd Street at East Washington Street. Some details about the facility were found in a 1946-1947 Louisville City Directory and notes about the trucking company tenants from newspaper ads and articles.
Most of the tenants were small intrastate carriers within Kentucky, and others only transported freight within two or three states. Here is a listing of the companies that maintained Louisville operations at 110 North Floyd Street in 1947:
- Crutcher Transfer Line- operated between Louisville, Fort Knox, and Elizabethtown, intrastate in Kentucky
- Webb Transfer Line- founded in 1914, served all of Shelby County, Kentucky. Filed bankruptcy in 1973 with a fleet of 17 tractors and 25 trailers.
- Taylorsville Transit Co.- operated between Taylorsville, Ky and Louisville
- Lebanon Transfer Co.
- Hoosier Transit Co.- operated between Louisville and points in Indiana
- Robert Ice Truck line
- Gidds Motor Freight
- Davenport Transfer Line
- Owenton Motor Express
- Abbott Bros. Freight Transfer
- Ziffrin Truck Lines- was the largest motor carrier using the terminal, had other terminals in Shelbyville, Chicago, Cincinnati and Indianapolis.
As the trucking industry matured in the 1950’s and 1960’s, the terminals evolved into the designs we know of today. Early terminals were not cross dock operations where trailers are parked on both sides and freight is moved “across”a concrete platform to other trailers. The early terminals had dock doors facing the street and caused traffic backups when trailers were protruding into city streets. Downtown areas expanded and real estate values caused truck terminals to be torn down and the land used for other things. Construction of downtown expressways eliminated some terminals. As tenants of these terminals grew in size by mergers and consolidation, many of the companies needed larger terminals of their own away from the downtown areas. An example of this would be Killion Motor Express. Originally based in Indiana, Killion in the late 1930’s had its Louisville terminal in the depot at 110 North Floyd Stre. When Killion moved its general offices to Louisville several years later it had outgrown the Floyd Street location and got a terminal of its own in 1947 at 1417 Magazine Street.
The photo is of the building at 110 North Floyd Street and was found on Google Maps Streetview. It appears to have a total of 12 dock doors on two streets. Can you imagine a 53 foot trailer backed up to one of those doors today? It would certainly block an entire street!