Campbell 66 Express was founded by Franklin George Campbell in 1926 in Springfield, Missouri. Originally started as Campbell Fuel & Transfer it became Campbell 66 Express, Inc. when a local banker asked Frank if he would take over Rapid “66” Express, a truck line operating down Route 66 from St.Louis to Springfield. It was 1933.
In 1935 the Interstate Commerce Act was passed regulating trucking in the U.S. This Act in effect regulated nearly every aspect of transportation by truck. Those truck line operators who could prove they had provided regular service between cities were awarded authority to continue that service. In other words their proven authority was “ Grandfathered”. To gain new authority one had to prove that service was inadequate by the existing carrier. This was very difficult to prove before the Interstate Commerce Commission. It was far easier to buy out another truck line that could connect with your authority by proving to the Commission that you were financially fit and able to take over the line and improve service to the shipping public.For over a period of 40 years, Frank Campbell purchased a number of truck lines expanding his operation from a small line operating in Missouri on Route 66 to operating in 26 states primarily in the Midwest and Southern part of the U.S.
This pattern of expansion by the major truck lines came to an end with the passing of the Deregulation Act of 1980. For 45 years the regulated trucking industry had operated under strict regulation and the new Act was such a drastic change that many vanished. Campbell “66” was one of many that disappeared. In 1986 after 60 years the Company declared bankruptcy and its status as a Missouri Corporation was ended in 1997.
The telling of the Campbell “66” Story is important not only for its unique 60 year history, but for recognizing the many people who worked for the Company dedicating their working lives to live up to the Company Motto, “Humpin’ to Please”.