American Trucking history

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“The history of trucking in America is the history of 20th century America itself: the post-industrialization transport of goods, the expansion of the highway system from the 1920s to the 1950s, the quintessentially American iconography of the open road and the possibility of adventure. All of that is wrapped up in the history of trucking.

As America grew through its most prosperous century, it was increasingly up to trucks to deliver the raw materials that facilitated that growth and the finished products that sprang from it.

“There was an old trucker named Joe Drohtzmann who had a saying, ‘If you got it, a truck brought it,’” says Don Stone of Yakima, a retired trucker and regional vice president of the American Truck Historical Society. “And that’s the truth.”

It is with that in mind that the society hosts its American Truck Historical Society Annual Convention and Antique Truck Show this weekend at State Fair Park. The society, dedicated to preserving the history of the trucking industry, will have nearly 1,000 trucks on display. Many will be the antique trucks prized by the organization and the viewing public. But, for the first time, there will also be working trucks on display from the National Association of Show Trucks. Stone says he’s hoping the combination of new and old trucks will draw 4,000 to 5,000 people each of the three days of the show, and he expects at least 2,500 each day.

“We had 1,500 room nights reserved, and they were eaten up just immediately,” he says. “We only have five contract hotels, or six. And a lot of people are staying at other hotels, too.”

He figures the show, which he’s been trying to bring to Yakima for years, will put more than $3 million into the local economy based mostly on hotel, restaurant and service costs paid by the thousands of attendees. It’s a fitting partnership; truckers and Yakima have long had a good relationship, he says.”

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