Beelman Truck Co. was started in 1906 by Frank Beelman, Sr., who began this business by hauling coal and ice in St. Louis, MO with two teams of horse-drawn wagons. The ice was delivered to households and businesses for cooling purposes before the refrigerator and freezer was a staple in the home. Coal was delivered in the winter for residential and commercial heating.
In 1917, Frank Sr. purchased a farm in St. Libory, IL and moved there with his family. In 1928 he purchased a general store in St. Libory and with a 1926 Chevrolet truck started hauling produce to St. Louis and returned with supplies for his store, and others located in Belleville, Freeburg and Fayetteville, IL. With the purchase of two more trucks, hauling to the local farmers began with limestone from railroad cars in 1934 and from the quarries in 1935. In 1939 he began to haul garbage from the St. Louis restaurants to feed his 700 hogs.
Frank Beelman, Jr.
Upon Frank’s return to Illinois in 1945 he bought a new truck and began hauling limestone, rock and coal. In 1950 when a new mine in St. Clair County opened Frank purchased ten tractors and trailers. While starting this fledging business Frank also owned and operated the local school bus route and farmed as well. Kay worked by her husband’s side as the company’s bookkeeper/office manager for the next fifty years.
Frank “Sam” Beelman, III and Shelly Beelman
Frank “Sam” Beelman, III was born in 1955 and was raised amid the trucks and axle grease. A new terminal was built along Route 15 in St. Libory, IL in 1978 and by this time Sam had taken a management position within the Company and his sister Sue became the office manager. Sam’s wife, Shelly, joined the Beelman staff in the mid 1980’s. The current truck terminal/administrative office was built in E. St. Louis IL in 2004. Central dispatch, central billing is located here along with Safety, Sales and Operations.