|Rollsigns from Indian Trails
|The company that became what is now Indian Trails was founded in 1910 by Cora and Wayne Taylor of Owosso, Michigan. Known as the
Phillips-Taylor Livery Service, the company literally started from scratch by building some of their first buses. Their service specialized in
transporting people and freight from the local Durand Union Trail Depot to locations around Shiawassee County. By the middle of the 1910s they
broadened their service to Flint, and it became known as the Owosso-Flint Bus Line. With the growth on industry in the region and cities like Flint
and Saginaw before World War I, the system further expanded to include destinations as far away as Saginaw, Bay City and Detroit. During the
war, while Wayne Taylor went overseas for combat, Cora ran the business, which was rare at that time.
Being a student of the history of Michigan, Cora researched the history of many native Indian Chiefs. This research started the tradition of
"christening" each bus in the fleet in honor of a native Chief from the Ottawa, Chippewa or Potawatomie tribes of Michigan. It's a tradition that still
continues to this date. Around 1935, The company officially incorporated as Indian Trails Bus Lines, the same year that the Federal Highway Act
brought all bus operations under the control of the Interstate Commerce Commission. Also in the 1930s, the company closely associated with
Greyhound Lines in cooperative fare and schedule arrangements to improve passenger service. That cooperative still exists today.
The second World War brought new challenges, but the company adapted and continued to stay strong, by bartering, trading and pooling
resources with other bus companies. They operated routes between Flint and Chicago via Battle Creek and the Fort Custer Army Depot, which
kept them busy moving troops and civilians and helped contribute to the war effort.
After the war the Taylor's nephew, Bill Himburg was brought into the company. He worked in a variety of levels from operations manager to general
manager to vice president and president. Under his leadership, the company expanded service to the Thumb area of Michigan, as well as starting
escorted tour service and charter business. During the 1950s the company developed a new equipment purchase policy to add up to five new
coaches into the fleet every year. By 1986, Bill Himburg had risen to be the chairman of the company. As of 2015, the company is in its third
generation of continuous family ownership, led by Himburg's son-in-law, Gordon Mackay. The company now operates three garages in Detroit,
Owosso and Kalamazoo. Its services operate to this date, covering routes such as Grand Rapids and St. Ignace, Bay City-St. Ignace, Lansing-St.
Ignace and all of the Upper Peninsula, and in 2006, added daily airport service called Michigan Flyer, in a partnership with Okemos Skybird Travel.
|Retired Pioneer Coach Lines MCI coach #847, the bus the
sign to the right came out of, is seen at a salvage yard in
Chicago Heights, Illinois on May 8, 2015.