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The History of the Truck Stop

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The History of the Truck Stop

Truck Stops offer hot showers, a variety of food and drinks, and an interesting array of merchandise. They make traveling on the road easier and getting gas more convenient. They are usually pretty easy to find and are located in nearly every city a driver might travel. According to the 2017 National Truck Stop Directory, there are over 6,500 trucks in the United States and Canada alone.

Most Truck Stops are part of well known chains, but a few independents are still around. Many of the vintage locations have now been upgraded to “Travel Centers.” These are designed with the truck driver and the motorist in mind. Back in the day, however, truck stops were geared exclusively toward the truck driver.

A Wikipedia article traces the origination of Truck Stops back to the 1940s, noting that they were built in response to the growth of the Interstate Highway System and the need for diesel fuel by truck drivers. In an online news website, it is said that when President Dwight Eisenhower signed the Federal Interstate Highway Act, which called for the construction of more than 41,000 miles of new interstates, the trucking industry grew. As the trucking industry grew, so did the demand for Truck Stops.

The first chain store Truck Stop, reportedly called “Truckstops of America” changed its name to TravelCenters of America in the late 1990s. Truckstops of America opened the first of six locations in 1972. Petro was founded in 1975.

Truck Stops have long been depicted in films and novels. As noted in one online reference, “they tend to reflect the social environment of their local area.” Some of the vintage locations have been captured and presented in a YouTube Video. For those interested in a historic look at Truck Stops, you can view it here:

An author by the name of John McPhee wrote a book called, Uncommon Carriers, that features discussion on Truck Stops, with a comparison of rural ones to those closer to the city. Throughout the years, much has changed in regard to their design, but they have not stopped focusing on one thing… how to make travel more convenient. Many Truck Stops or Travel Centers have expanded their services beyond what most ever expected. Today, you can find casinos, salons, movie theaters, and other services, right at the front door. It’s everything you could need and more, all in one location.

As times change, the fun and routine visits to the Truck Stops are just one more reason that life as a tourist is so interesting and exciting. There’s always someone offering up coffee and great conversation. The stories that one is likely to hear makes the trip to the Truck Stop all the more worthwhile.

While truck driving is not for everyone, it is pretty awesome for those who love traveling along the open road. For those that enjoy that long haul, Truck Stops are just one of the many novelties that make time spent on the road something to remember. When you’re ready to put on your traveling shoes, give us a call. You’ll be surprised at just how fast we can put your career in motion.

About Millis Transfer
Millis Transfer, Getting It There Since 1936, has an impressive service record earning dozens of “Carrier of the Year” awards. Headquartered in Black River Falls, Wis., Millis is also a Certified Top Pay Carrier with some of the best equipment on the road. Maintenance facilities and drop yards are strategically located throughout the company’s operating area. Its sister company, Millis Training Institute, offers five school locations that provide students with quality training in order to earn their CDL-A license. For more information, please visit, or call 1-800-937-0880.