Glenndenning Motorways was founded in 1924 by W. Gordon and Louise Glendenning, a husband and wife team. The company was started initially to haul commodities from the communities around Minneapolis-Saint Paul and Roseville, Minnesota. These routes were soon expanded to include other metropolitan hubs such as Chicago. In fact, Glenndenning Motorways became one of the first motor carriers to expand its routes east, rather than west, from Minnesota. By the early 1930s, the company had expanded its early, modest fleet to include 20 tractors.
When the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) began regulating the trucking industry in 1935, Glenndenning was awarded grandfathered rights to continue operating in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois. Just one year later, Glenndenning began to look for ways to expand its operational area.
Because the ICC was regulating everything from routes to rates, the best way to expand was through acquisition. The first of the company’s acquisitions was Como Freight Lines in 1936, which expanded Glenndenning’s service area from Saint Paul to Fargo, North Dakota. The following year the company purchased Security Storage Company, and with it, a route to Eau Claire, Wisconsin and Duluth, Minnesota.
In 1940, the company was incorporated as Glenndenning Motorways, Inc. and its fleet had grown to 35 trucks. Glenndenning was utilizing both dry van and refrigerated trailers. The company continued its steady expansion, with notable acquisitions that included Northern Transportation Company, Stellar Transportation and Midnight Express.
In 1948, tragedy struck when Gordon Glenndenning died unexpectedly from a heart attack. His wife Louise took over the management of the company. At the time, Glenndenning Motorways, Inc. was generating over $3 million in business annually. Under Louise’s direction, Glenndenning acquired three more large trucking companies: Superior Service Co, Inc.; Herda Alaska Truck Lines; and Moland Brothers Trucking Company.
The Moland Brothers Trucking Company acquisition, which occurred in 1963, was the largest acquisition that Glenndenning had attempted. Moland Brothers, located in Duluth, had annual gross operating revenues of $5 million and operated over 300 pieces of equipment. The acquisition was a game-changer for Glenndenning Motorways.
After 47 years with the company, Louise Glenndenning retired in 1971 and passed control of the company to her son, Gordon. Four years later, there were 24 Glenndenning terminals operating in a six-state area. The 1975 fleet included 340 tractors and 610 trailers.
Unfortunately, the last eight years of the company’s operations were only marginally profitable. Glenndenning Motorways either lost money or barely broke even. This turn in fortunes was due in large part to the economic recession in the 1970s and was further exacerbated by the Motor Carrier Act of 1980 that deregulated the trucking industry.
In 1981, the company merged with Minnesota-Wisconsin Truck Line and began to operate under the name GMW, Inc. Unfortunately, this did not solve the company’s problems. GMW, Inc. declared bankruptcy in 1983, citing deregulation and increased competition as the reasons it shut down its operations.