The Amazing Story of Frank Martz and His Little Bus

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It’s good to be back. Cathy and I had a wonderful vacation. We had a few days in Ft. Lauderdale and then we went on a cruise to the Panama Canal. It was fantastic. All of the cruise ships are full so not everyone is scared off by the stories.

When Cathy and I go to the gym in the morning, we always see the commuter buses that run from the Show Place Area in Upper Marlboro into Washington, DC. Every time I see them I have to smile. The buses are Martz buses.

Some of my earliest memories were of the Martz buses pulling out of the station on public square. I didn’t know at that time that Frank Martz started the bus line almost fifty years before I saw my first bus.

 

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I was in 1908 that Frank Martz invested in this beautiful bus. The bus has been well persevered and it has won many awards at antique auto shows. Maybe some have you have seen it in parades over the years.

In 1912 Frank organized the White Transit Company and it began service in the Wilkes-Barre area. By 1922 the line was offering full inter-city service in Wilkes-Barre and in 1927 Martz started its first runs to Elmira, NY and to New York City.

Frank Martz was an innovator who never stopped branching out and trying new things. He even tried to start airline service between New York, Elmira, and Buffalo. He started it in 1926 but it couldn’t survive the economic crash and the start of the depression. It discontinued in 1933.

The setback didn’t slow Frank down at all. In researching this piece I was quite surprise to learn that Frank Martz was a co-founder of the Trailways system. I had thought that Trailways was a big company the bought Martz; that was not the case at all. The Trailways system was actually many different independent carriers that banded together to provide coast to coast bus service and successfully competed with Greyhound.

Frank Senior passed away in 1936 and Frank Junior took over the reins of the company. The company continued to grow providing service up and down the east coast. Frank Junior died suddenly in a helicopter accident in 1964 and Frank Senior’s grandson Mr. Frank M. Henry took over the company and the company and the fame of the Martz name continued.

Today I see the Martz buses here in Upper Marlboro, but those are not the only Martz buses I see in the Washington area. The Martz company also owns the Gold and Grey line sightseeing buses that are common all over our nation’s capital.

Frank Martz and his little bus is one of the greatest success stories in the history of business in America and I am proud to come from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

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About

Pete is a retired software developer, a writer, and a martial arts instructor. He lives in Maryland with his wife Cathy and they are enjoying their retirement. Pete is the author of four novels, "The Teacher", 500 Years from Home", and "The Long Journey Home" are available at Lulu.com; and "Pioneers" in available at the Kindle Book Store.

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Posted in History, Memories, Uncategorized, Wilkes-Barre

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