History Articles

After eight decades of service to the trucking industry, Estes has quite a story to tell. From how W.W. Estes got started in 1931 to how the company hauled an elephant to the National Zoo in 1961, these interesting historical accounts will fascinate, amuse, inform and inspire.

  • A Humble Beginning for W.W. Estes
    Our founder, W.W. Estes, didn't start out his career in trucking—he was simply a modest farmer in Southside Virginia with a love for hard work and big equipment. Here's an interesting look at how he came to be the founder of what today has become the fifth largest LTL company in the nation.
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  • We All Left a Lot of Buddies on Omaha Beach
    Estes' second president and CEO, Robey W. Estes, Sr., served during WWII before he came home to help his father with Estes Express Lines. Read about his experience on Omaha Beach in France on D-Day in 1944 that originally appeared in the June 1, 1994, issue of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
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  • Estes and Overnite—A Friendly Rivalry
    “I liked competition, but I didn't like my competitors. I also told him that he was an exception—and he really was.” That's how Harwood Cochrane, founder and former president of Overnite Transportation, remembered his close longtime friend, Robey W. Estes, Sr., at the Estes Express Lines 75th anniversary media event back in April 2006. Retired from Overnite after more than a half century of service, the legendary Mr. Cochrane remembered a lot about those early years.
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  • Tommy Hupp, Estes' Executive Vice President During the
    Formative Years

    Tommy Hupp was a key player in the development of Estes Express Lines. He joined Estes in 1959 and stayed until his 1992 retirement as executive vice president. His 33 years of service, his first unofficial duty at the tender age of 14 and his fateful experience during WWII as a POW are all fascinating reading.
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  • Tommy Hupp Talks about His Service in World War II
    Before Tommy Hupp joined Estes—even before he graduated from Virginia Military Institute—he fought in the European Campaign of World War II. His service spanned from May 1943 until Novemner 1945. In October 1944, Tommy and his unit were taken prisoners on the Siegfried Line. He survived seven months as a prisoner of war in Germany until May 1945, when he and his colleagues were liberated.
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  • Trunk Space: A Story that an Elephant and Tom Fentress Never Forgot
    Tom Fentress began working with Estes in 1953, and ended up staying for 36 years. As Vice President of Export/Import Sales, he saw and experienced many interesting things, though maybe none so interesting as the time he arranged to get an elephant from the Port of Norfolk, Virginia, to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Here, in his words, is an account of that “heavy load.”
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  • How the Trucking Industry Got Its Start
    It's interesting to look back at the origins of the trucking industry to gain a little perspective on what we take for granted today in terms of roads, vehicles and the regulatory environment. What conditions set the state for W.W. Estes to start a trucking company back in 1931? And what was it like at Estes Express Lines in the early days?
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  • Life Before Deregulation
    For 60 years, beginning in 1935, the trucking industry was heavily regulated under a complicated system of restrictive and inefficient rules. Read on to find out what it was really like operating a trucking company under the heavy government oversight of years past.
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  • A Legend at Estes Express Lines: Rosa Carter, Corporate Secretary
    An amazing slice of Estes' company history is tied to Rosa M. Carter who worked at Estes for 46 years beginning in 1944. She was a one-woman powerhouse who worked her way up from billing clerk to Corporate Secretary on the Estes Board of Directors—all at a time when women executives were unheard of, especially in freight transportation. So, exactly who is Rosa Carter?
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  • 80 Years of Change: Comparing 1931 to 2011
    Eight decades have passed since W.W. Estes bought a used Chevy truck and began shipping livestock and produce in Southside Virginia. It was obviously a different era. But a closer comparison of W.W.'s world in 1931 to our present-day reality reveals a few striking parallels.
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