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History of Freeland, Pa.
Transportation companies

What's on this page:
  • Bus companies
  • Taxi services
  • Bus and taxi businesses listed in directories
On related pages:

Freeland-Eckley bus schedule, 1954 Freeland-Upper Lehigh bus schedule, 1954 I'm not sure which company ran the bus service from Freeland to Upper Lehigh and to Eckley in 1954, but here are the schedules from March, 1954, from Ed Merrick.

A lot of the research for this page was done by Ed Merrick, especially trying to untangle the various taxi services in town. Thank you, Ed.

Bus companies in the Freeland area

Dewey Bros. Bus and Taxi Service, 1924 ad Dewey Bros. Auto Bus - 341 Centre St. (Al Dewey and ______ - who was the other brother?) - drivers included Clarence Dagrosa of Scotch Hill, Drifton, Anthony Novitsky of Eckley, and John Platska. Anthony Novitsky might be a connection between Dewey Bros. and the Stanley Garage? (1924 ad at left)

Dewey Bros. bus token Dewey Bros. bus token Dewey Bros. bus token Dewey Bros. bus token

Poltrock Garage bus ad, 1928 Poltrok bus token Poltrock's Garage - 118 Oak St. (Herman Poltrok) - Upper Lehigh-Freeland-Eckley Bus Line - Bus service for parties, anywhere within a radius of 50 miles from Freeland (from Ed Merrick, 1926 and 1927 ads) - Batteries charged, prompt service; Fisk tires (1925 ads) (The Poltrock Garage ad from 1928 cames from Charlie Stumpf.)

Stanley Bus & Taxi Service, 1927 ad Stanley Garage, 1939 ad Stanley Garage, new location, 1931 ad Stanley Bus & Taxi Service - 341 Centre St. - Freeland-Highland-Eckley Bus Lines - (formerly Dewey Bros.) (1927 ad from Ed Merrick)

Stanley Garage - Johnson & Dewey (Stanley C. Novitsky, proprietor; August Gross, manager in 1930) - services included "Busses for hire for all occasions" - Stanley Garage letterhead, 1930 the 1930 letterhead at left listed among their services their local bus service and also "Cars and deluxe parlor coaches for hire for all occasions" - the 1931 ad at left touts a new location and mentions "Luzerne & Carbon County Motor Transportation Co. (1931 and 1939 ads at right from Ed Merrick; 1930 letterhead courtesy of the Freeland Historical Society, from a letter to Freeland Borough Council requesting permission to install one gas tank and pump at their garage on Dewey and Johnson streets)

Stine bus schedule, 1929 Stine’s Bus Service - 418 Johnson (Lester A. and Edward D. Stine) - Freeland-White Haven Bus Line - also selling a complete line of high grade tires - Buses also stopped at Sandy Run and Pond Creek. Schedule at left comes from Ed Merrick. The photo circa 1920s came from John Zubach and the sign (hard to read) says "Bus Stop - White Haven - Leaves Here." Probably for the Stine Bros. bus?

Stine Bros. bus token Stine bus schedule, 1921 directory ad Sign for White Haven bus stop, ca. 1920s

Taxi services in the Freeland area

Peter Bonner taxi service, 1919 ad Peter Bonner - 512 Centre St. ("at the John Novak Cigar Store on Center street" (1919 ad from Ed Merrick) - Bonner lived in Drifton and conducted his business by phone and from Novak's cigar store and billiards parlor.

Dewey Taxi Service, 1922 ad Dewey Bros. Taxi Service - 341 Centre St. (from Ed Merrick, 1922 ad at left) - The ad at left looks like a pitch for a new business. They had 5- and 7-passenger cars available.

Various newspaper announcements, mostly from the 1920s: Al Dewey sold one of his Fords and replaced it with a Jewett sedan for use in his taxi service. - Clarence Dagrosa of Scotch Hill, Drifton was a bus driver for the Dewey Bros. bus line (reminiscence in a 1981 birthday notice) - Anthony Novitsky of Eckley is employed as chauffeur and auto repair man for Dewey Bros. (1925 engagement announcement) - John Platska has accepted a position as chauffeur for Dewey Bros., the auto bus and taxi men. (1925 notice)

Later in the 1928-1929 directory Anthony Novitsky is listed at 341 under Cigars and Tobacco. That was the address of Dewey Bros., for whom he had been a driver. Was he related to Stanley Novitsky?
The Stanley Bus & Taxi Service advertised itself as "Formerly Dewey's".

John and Edmund R. Firley opening cab business, 1946 Firley's Garage open for business, 1946 ad Freeland Cab Co. - license sold to a succession of owners over time; ads seen ranged from 1946 to 1958. The July 1946 announcement that John and Edmund R. Firley were opening the Freeland Cab Co. says that "Their cab company will be the first in Freeland in more than ten years." Meanwhile the ad at right saying that Firley's Garage is open for business appeared a few weeks later. (both ads from Ed Merrick) Ed remembers that the Firleys ran a garage business in Mike Remak's garage at the rear of 709-711 Main street before building a garage at the Sandy Run crossroads, commenting "I know that my grandfather rented out space there because it was a huge garage, as wide as the duplex residence in front."

The most recent taxi service before this one that I've seen was Stanley's in the 1920s (see below).

Freeland Cab Co.:
1946 - Begun by John and Edmund R. Firley
1949 - Phonebook shows Freeland Cab Co. at 1172 Walnut, and Clement Klopp also at that address
1952 - Andrew Repetz, Jr. takes license over from Clement Klopp
1955 - Michael Berta, Jr. takes license over from Andrew Repetz, Jr.
1957 - Phonebook shows the Freeland Cab Co. office at Centre & Main
1958 - Michael Berta, Jr. selling Freeland Cab Co. after “past several years”

Andrew Kish - 606 Centre St. (listed in 1921-1922 directory)

Kline Garage taxi service, 1921-1922 ad Kline Garage taxi service, 1922 ad Kline Garage - 509 Johnson St. - Prompt, safe service at weddings, christenings and funerals, also hospital trips (1925 ad) - Buy a "Gardner" car, for sale by Kline Garage - First class taxi service, comfortable and clean cars (from Ed Merrick, 1922 ad at right) - The full page ad at left was published in the 1921-1922 Freeland directory.

Shaver and Lavigna taxi service, 1922 notice Not in the list, but mentioned in newspapers:
Shaver and Lavigna - 739 Front St., headquarters at John Klinger's saddler shop (from Ed Merrick)

Stanley Bus and Taxi, 1927 ad Stanley's Garage, list of services, 1927 ad Stanley Bus & Taxi Service - 341 Centre St. - formerly Dewey Bros. - Anytime, anywhere, quickly, safely and courteously (from Ed Merrick, 1927 ads) - The ad at right lists services and gives a 315 Centre St. address.

Stanley Garage ad card This handy ad card comes from Billy Kuklis - a great way for Stanley Garage to generate repeat business by making these cards that people could keep in their wallets for whenever they need a taxicab.

Stanley Garage, new location, 1931 ad Stanley Garage letterhead, 1930 undated Stanley Garage ad Stanley Garage - Johnson & Dewey (Stanley C. Novitsky, proprietor; August Gross, manager in 1930) - "Taxi - Day and night service" (1930 letterhead courtesy of the Freeland Historical Society, from a letter to Freeland Borough Council requesting permission to install one gas tank and pump at their garage on Dewey and Johnson streets) - The 1931 ad at left from Ed Merrick shows that the business moved to a new location at Dewey and Johnson streets, doesn't mention any taxi service, shows that the auto repair and other services were greatly expanded. The undated ad at right came from Charlie Stumpf and lists auto repair, painting, window, and no mention of either taxi or bus services.

Wilson Taxi Service, 1923 ad James Wilson Day or Night Taxi Service - from the Howard Fairchild's Lunch Room (1923 ad) - There were several Wilson garages and auto-related businesses in Freeland. In 1924 Wilson Garage was at 639 Centre St. (Rear of Stirling’s Music Store), offering General Automobile Repairing, … Batteries, Autos to Hire For All Purposes. Was that this same James Wilson taxi service, or something different? The 1928-1929 directory listed a James Wilson, mechanic, living on Alvin St. (several other Wilsons also at that address).

I didn't see transportation businesses (other than livery stables or railroads) listed in 19th-century directories or on maps, but here are the ones listed in Freeland directories from the 1920s and 1940:

1921-1922 directory:
Freeland – White Haven Bus Line – 819 Walnut (Lester A. Stine and Edward D. Stine)
Kish, Andrew – 606 Centre (taxicab)
Kline Garage – 509 Johnson (taxicab)

1928-1929 directory:
Freeland-Highland-Eckley Bus Line - 315-317 Center
Freeland-White Haven Bus Line - 418 Johnson (Lester A. Stine and Edward D. Stine)
Stine's Bus Service - 418 Johnson (Lester A. Stine and Edward D. Stine)
Upper Lehigh-Freeland-Eckley Bus Line - 118 Oak - Herman Poltrok
Kline Garage, 509 Johnson (taxicab)
Stanley Garage, 315-17 Centre (taxicab)

1940 directory:
Bus Lines

Hazleton Auto-Bus Co. - 637 Centre
Luzerne & Carbon County Trans. Co. - 203 Johnson

1940 directory:
Transportation Companies

Hazleton Auto Bus Co. - 637 Centre, Main Office 22 N. Wyoming, Hazleton, Pa.

Ed Merrick adds this one:
1940 census:
Andrew Zurko - 130 Main St., school bus, proprietor (age 39 in 1940 Census, from Ed Merrick)

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