Trucking Along

Iowa HogWith the coming of gasoline-powered trucks things could be moved from one place to another more quickly, Iowa farmers found that trucks were very useful. A farmer who lived near the town of Irvin told how trucks had changed his life in the 1940s.

"Years ago to haul hogs to market, I had to get the help of five of my neighbors. In 6 wagons we would carry 30 hogs. We went 5.5 miles to the railroad stop in Irvin, I had to buy a meal for the men and myself. Generally it cost me about 50 cents apiece. Those men ate a real meal, not a lunch. That's three dollars. To put the 6 teams in the livery barn cost $1.20. Because I had the men come and help me, I had to go and help them, which meant 5 days of work off the farm for myself and my team. The cash cost alone was $4.20. Today, I can hire a trucker to take 25 or 30 hogs to Harlan, more than twice as far, for only $2.50. He can get them there and be back in 2 hours. And I don't have to spend any time off the farm."

Trucks Instead of Rails

Because trucks could provide door-to-door service, people began to use them instead of the railroads for long-distance hauling. It seemed more sensible to load the product just one time on a truck instead of the two times needed for railroad transport, After World War II ended (1945) the number of trucks hauling the nation's goods increased greatly.

The new demand for trucks and truckers to haul goods for people created new businesses. Some Iowans saw the need for trucks and went into the trucking business. Others got jobs as drivers of trucks.

Adapted from original article in The Goldfinch 4, No. 2 (Nov. 1982). Iowa City: State Historical Society of Iowa.
© State Historical Society of Iowa



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