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Articles about Swedish American immigrants who have succeeded

The Greyhound buses - a Swedish success story

You've probably heard of Greyhound Lines or the Greyhound buses. The well-known logo with the competition dog has, if nothing else, been included in any film you have seen. Maybe at some point you even rode a Greyhound bus, a popular way to see the great country in the west for a reasonable amount of money. What you may not know is that it was a Swedish emigrant who started and built this American icon company. In 1939, the company had around 10,000 employees and operated 4,750 bus stations throughout the United States.

One Swede who came to contribute to the development of the American travel market was Martis Jerk Wretman (Martis was the farm name and Jerk is a valley destination for Erik). He was born in 1887 in the village of Våmhus in Dalarna and emigrated to the United States in 1905 like so many others. He took on the more common name Eric Wickman in America, and got a job as a rock driller in a mine in the town of Alice in northern Minnesota.

    In 1914, Eric Wickman had to quit his job at the mine and decided to try his luck as a car salesman for the car manufacturer Hubmobil in the nearby town of Hibbing. Private motoring had begun to take hold in the United States. However, the development was still in its infancy and he therefore failed to sell the car he had undertaken to sell. But despite this, this would change his life.

    Eric Wickman and a colleague started using the unsold seven-seater Hubmobile to drive old miners' colleagues between Alice and Hibbing for the 15 cent trip, which became a business he could support himself on. The following year, he also merged the business with another bus line that served the larger city of Duluth, and the new company, Mesaba Transportation Company, immediately made a profit of $ 8,000.

From coast to coast

With his finances secured, Eric Wickman was able to marry the Swede Olga Rudin in 1916, with whom he would have two children. By the end of World War I, he had built up a fleet of 18 buses and made a profit of as much as $ 40,000. And during the "happy twenties", when the American economy grew explosively but many could not yet afford their own car, success would continue.

   The business, which was first called Blue Goose Lines, but in 1926 was named Greyhound (after the fast competition dogs), soon became known throughout the United States. Eric Wickman participated in parallel as a founder, co-owner and partner in a number of other bus companies, including on the American west coast. This made the business national and people could suddenly start traveling long distances very cheaply. Already 1927 customer  for example, whoever wanted to, ride the Greyhound all the way from New York to California.

    By the end of the 1920s, Greyhound had established itself as the leading bus company in the United States with annual revenues of up to $ 6 million. But then the Great Depression struck and in 1931 the company was heavily in debt. As the economy recovered, however, the trend reversed, and in 1935 Greyhound again showed a big plus of 8 million. When World War II broke out in 1939, the company had around 10,000 employees and operated 4,750 bus stations across the United States.

    After three decades of hard, and largely successful, work, Eric Wickman decided to retire. He therefore resigned as head of the Greyhound in 1946 and retired to his home in Daytona Beach, Florida, where he could enjoy the fruits of his life's work until his death in 1954.

    Traveling with Greyhound is still today a good, exciting and different way to discover the United States. For a reasonable price, you can still reach around 3,700 destinations not only in the United States but also in Canada and Mexico, and during longer trips you often have to stop at places you would otherwise never visit.

Eric Wickman och bussarna.jpg
Annons Greyhound.jpg
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