A closer look at a Hall of Fame inductee

The State Journal-Register in Springfield, Ill., published a profile of the late Lewis “Zoo” Barrick, a Lincoln trucker who recently was elected to the Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame:

Zoo Barrick started Barrick Transfer & Beverage Co. in 1935. The transfer company hauled freight such as meat and soda up and down Route 66.

“He started out of the basement of his house pretty much. He’d unload (freight) every night and load it up again in the morning,” Jack Barrick said. […]

The Lincoln Bottling Co. of Chicago supplied the soda, which came in glass bottles that were stored in heavy wooden cases.

“When the meat came in, back in those days the trucks did not have refrigeration, so when he got it, he had to get it to the local stores around town,” Jack Barrick said. “He just worked all the time.”

In 1938, Barrick Transfer expanded to include beer, a news release from the Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County said.

The release also noted that Zoo Barrick had many friends in Lincoln’s large coal-miner community. So he had benches built in the back of his truck to take the miners to the Mother Jones Monument dedication in Union Miners Cemetery in Mount Olive in 1936. […]

Zoo Barrick later bought a moving van and became a North American Van Lines agent, taking loads of furniture up to Chicago on Route 66 and picking up soda for the trip home.

Then, in the 1960s, he began interlining freight with other companies and operated terminals in Chicago and St. Louis as well as in Lincoln.

Barrick retired during the 1970s, but still went to his office each day. He died in 1996. His son Jack and grandson John continue to operate the company.

On the firm’s 75th anniversary, the Lincoln Courier published a feature about Barrick Enterprises that revealed even more:

Lewis Barrick started the company on Feb. 15, 1935, with $75 of his own money and $75 he borrowed from his father-in-law, August J. Feldman, to purchase a 1931 Ford Model Double A. […]

For most businesses during World War II, necessities such as gasoline and tires were difficult to obtain due to rationing imposed by the government, but Lewis Barrick found a way to alleviate the strains. After purchasing a 1935 Dodge tractor and converting a grain trailer into a van trailer, he began hauling chickens and eggs for soldiers at the Air Force base in Rantoul.

Because Barrick Transfer was hauling government property, Jack Barrick said, the trucking company’s workers remained exempt from the draft and the company did not lose any manpower. In fact, even his mother, Mildred Barrick, got involved in the trucking business, hauling several loads of chickens and eggs to Chicago herself. Although Lewis would unload his own freight, Mildred always had someone unload for her.

The fact Barrick started his company in the middle of the Great Depression is telling. People from that era tended to hustle and work a lot harder because they felt at the time that they didn’t have a choice.

The rest of the Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame inductee for 2010 can be found here. The Hall of Fame banquet is today at the Best Western Carlinville Inn, coinciding with the Illinois Route 66 Association’s annual Motor Tour.

One thought on “A closer look at a Hall of Fame inductee

  1. One comment by the son was particularly funny when he said that his father was so strict, that two employees quit and joined the military during World War II just to get away from Zoo. Even though they weren’t able to be drafted because of their occupation.

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