A couple weeks ago while reading the blog on Gig Harbor Sand & Gravel Co., we learned that Tom Myers owned a bus line running from Bremerton to Tacoma, aptly named Bremerton-Tacoma Stage Line, in 1939. This naturally reminds us of Hubert Secor and the bus service which he started in 1922 with the total capital of $45.
But before we discuss the bus line let’s step back a moment and start with the arrival of the Secor family in the Gig Harbor area. Hubert’s maternal Grandfather, Robert Irvin Franklin arrived on the Gig Harbor Peninsula in 1886 with his second wife, Sarah H. Benway Franklin (1847-1901). His first wife, Elizabeth Ann Dickens Franklin who had died in 1875 was “Littie’s” (Artalissa Naomi Franklin Secor) mother.
David E. Secor had married Littie Franklin in 1878 in Colorado where he was engaged in mining. They then moved to Elma, Washington from Colorado with their two sons, Eugene (1879-1946) and Hubert (1892/1972), and then to Tacoma in 1904; in 1905 David served as a Deputy Sheriff and assisted in the quelling strike disturbances in Pierce County. The Lonshoremen’s Union and the Sailor’s Union disagreement erupted into battle causing one death and numerous injuries.
The family arrived on the Gig Harbor Peninsula in 1907 to care for Littie’s ailing father. (Hubert was 15 that year.)
Littie went on to become one of the founding members of the Gig Harbor Fortnightly Club.
|1907 Gig Harbor Fortnightly Club members|
|Eugene Secor, Peninsula Gateway's office|
Like so many of the early Gig Harbor residents, Hubert took the ferry to Tacoma where he attended Stadium High School. Following his graduation, Hubert went to work for the telephone company, first in Tacoma at Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Company, and then in Gig Harbor with the Island Empire Telephone & Telegraph Company.
In 1922 at the age of 30, Hubert and his father, David, began a bus service. On May 12, 1922, the State of Washington Department of Transportation issued a certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to H. B. Secor, to furnish passenger, express and freight service between Gig Harbor and Tacoma. Certificate was transferred to Henry Kaffenberger and H. B. Secor d/b/a Gig Harbor-Tacoma Transportation Co. on September 8, 1922. Followed by a transfer to H. B. Secor on 2/16/23, passenger and express service only. The route was to and from Gig Harbor and Tacoma.
|This was the original garage in 1922|
Hubert leased the Scarponi family garage at 8802 North Harborview Drive, located just a few doors southwest of Uddenberg’s Market. His first bus was a White Motor Company bus, and soon exchanged for a larger Pierce-Arrow bus, and in 1924, a second Pierce-Arrow bus was purchased. Roscoe Savage was hired to drive the second bus, and then, perhaps as early as 1926, Roy Clark
took his place.
As well as transporting passengers, Hubert had a contract to carry mail between Tacoma and Gig Harbor twice a day for approximately 10 years. The fare was 25 cents one-way to Tacoma including the ferry fare. Rides in and around Gig Harbor only to run errands, et cetera, were free.
Passengers in the early days included students going to Stadium High School in Tacoma since Gig Harbor did not yet have a high school. Some of those students included Ruth and Erick Erickson, Nellie Austin, and Bertha Lund. Dr. William Treutle, Sr., a dentist in Tacoma, and Mr. Brintnall, a printer for one of Tacoma’s newspapers were also passengers.
Sometime between 1922 and 1928, Hubert added a run from Gig Harbor to Bremerton using an eleven passenger Studebaker bus, again with two round trips daily. By 1928 two additional daily bus routes were added to the Tacoma run. All the drivers were required to be 21 years old or older. The drivers, Hubert and Oroville Hemphill, worked 12 hours a day; Hubert 6 AM to 6 PM, and Oroville 8 AM to 8 PM. Their daily wages were each $4.40 per day.
|Gig Harbor Stage at Head of Harbor in front of the Sweeney Building|
On February 1, 1931, according to information provided by a Mr. George R. Llewellyn of Silverdale, WA, the route’s certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity was transferred to Joseph Lyons, owner of the Tacoma Bus Company. However, Hubert continued to drive the bus until 1934.
In 1929, Hubert and his wife, Marian, had started Minterbrook Oyster Company on the Key Peninsula at Minter Bay and Rocky Bay. So it was only natural that when he decided to sell the bus company and stop driving, he would devote his full time attention to growing the oyster business. He and Marian would continue to maintain and operate the oyster company until 1954. That year, they sold the operations and company to Harold and Beverly Wiksten who continued expanding the business until finally selling it in 2012 to Kent, Donna, Austin and Garrett Kingman. The Kingman family operates Mintercreek Oyster Company today.
In 1964, Hubert Secor was elected mayor of Gig Harbor; in 1969 he had a stroke which led to his death in 1972 at age 80. He worked for a few years for the Pierce County Road Department and was involved in many community activities during his lifetime.
|Secor's Garage as listed on the Gig Harbor Historic Inventory 2008 Listing|
Note: Courtesy of Mr. Llewellyn: “On May 12, 1922, the State of Washington Department of Transportation issued a certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to H. B. Secor, to furnish passenger, express and freight service between Gig Harbor and Tacoma. Certificate was transferred to Henry Kaffenberger and H. B. Secor d/b/a Gig Harbor-Tacoma Transportation Co. on September 8, 1922. Followed by a transfer to H. B. Secor on 2/16/23, passenger and express service only. Transferred to Tacoma Bus Company, 2/1/31. Added service between Tacoma and Bremerton via Gig Harbor. Certificate transferred to Bremerton-Tacoma Stages, Inc. 12/10/1934. Added service between Purdy and Longbranch via Wauna, Vaughn, Home, and Lakebay, Bremerton and Shelton via Navy Yard; Bremerton and Eldon; Eldon and Port Angeles 9/4/46.
Find-A-Grave Memorial for Secor Family Members
Peninsula Gateway Obituaries
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