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From 1933 to 1971, this was the headquarters of the Ohio Valley Bus Company. The company was established in 1913 as the Ohio Valley Streetcar Company, and its original headquarters was on the corner of 18th Street West and Washington Avenue. The company began offering service to Huntington residents using ten streetcars, and by the 1920s, Ohio Valley Streetcar had built a network of 34 miles of track and connected the cities of Huntington, Ashland, and Catlettsburg. Fred Samworth became the president of the company in 1933, and as the company replaced streetcars with buses, the company's name changed to the Ohio Valley Bus Company four years later. Starting in the 1950s, the proliferation of personal automobiles led to financial difficulties for the bus company. Facing stagnant wages, employees went on strike on October 1, 1971. This strike ended in 1972 with the creation of the Tri-State Transit Authority, a publicly subsidized entity that still operates in Huntington today.


  • An all-steel streetcar that was produced by the St. Louis Car Company and owned by the Ohio Valley Electric Railway Company.
  • One of the Ohio Valley Bus Company's busses sitting in front of their bus barn located at the corner of 18th Street West and Adams Avenue.
  • Ohio Valley Bus Company's bus dropping passengers off in Downtown Huntington.
  • 1954 picture of Ohio Valley Bus Company's President, Leonard Samworth.
  • A token, now viewed as collectors items, used to board the bus.
  • A 2012 picture of a TTA bus traveling the streets of Downtown Huntington, WV.
  • Two employees walking outside of the Ohio Valley Bus Company's bus barn, during the 1971 strike. Employee on left is wearing a sign that reads, "ON STRIKE Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1171"
  • Employees hanging out outside of the Ohio Valley Bus Company's bus barn, during the 1971 strike.

Beginning in the late 1800s, the town of Huntington and surrounding areas relied on streetcars. The Ohio Valley Railway Company was established in 1913 with ten all-steel streetcars produced by the St. Louis Car Company. By the 1920s, the company had a fleet of streetcars that operated on 34 miles of track throughout the city of Huntington and into the neighboring cities across the river in Kentucky. For fifteen cents a commuter could take a 16-mile ride, thereby making possible the sprawling growth of the Tri-State area in an era when automobile ownership was rare.  

Fred W. Samworth moved from Delaware to Huntington in the 1920s and believed that buses would the future of transportation for the city of Huntington. As president and general manager of the Ohio Valley Electric Railway Company in 1933, he began replacing the streetcars with buses which increased speed of transport. To this day, some of the former streetcar tracks are still visible on the roads of Huntington, especially under the viaducts. On November 7, 1937, Huntington became the first city in West Virginia that offered transportation solely by bus. 

In 1937 the Ohio Valley Electric Railway Company changed there name to the Ohio Valley Bus Company to reflect the change. The company's garage and headquarters was located at the corner of 18th Street West and Washington Avenue in Huntington, WV. Fred Samworth passed away in 1939, and his son, Leonard H. Samworth, became the treasurer for the company. Just five years later, he became the president and general manager of Ohio Valley Bus Company. Leonard Samworth would eventually be known as “Mr. Bus” in the city of Huntington for decades to come. By 1950, the company operated a fleet of 80 buses and over a dozen routes throughout the city of Huntington, parts of Kentucky, and Ohio. The company employed 145 drivers and ninety other workers from dispatchers to mechanics. By 1953, the company had served more than 13.8 million passengers and traveled more than three million miles. 

In the early 1950s, the company began to face financial problems that would eventually lead to the closing of the company. President Samworth stated in an interview with the newspaper in 1954 that the steady increase in automobile sales led to a decrease in the company’s customers. He also declared that the company had lost over 50% of its riders in just a five year span. By the late 1960s, the company was losing money and many of its employees were faced with wages that did not keep pace with other industries. On October 1, 1971, the union contract expired for drivers and mechanics and they went on strike, demanding better wages and benefits before they agreed to renew their contracts. The strike lasted for nine months and ended in 1972 when a new public agency replaced the privately-owned bus service. 

The new public agency is known today as the Tri-State Transit Authority or the TTA. The agency was created in April of 1972 and began offering service on July 17, 1972. The TTA began by using the Ohio Valley Bus Company fleet and hired Samworth as interim general manager to help the company get started until he later resigned in 1973. With federal support, TTA returned bus service to the city of Huntington and operates a new garage and headquarters building in West Huntington not far from the former Ohio Bus Company headquarters.

Casto, James E. “Marathon Bus Strike of '71, '72 Wrote an End to Private Service.” Herald Dispatch, November 27, 2011. https://www.herald-dispatch.com/news/marathon-bus-strike-of-wrote-an-end-to-private-service/article_d64b352d-7e28-5d22-a7e6-6c98326f3953.html.

Casto, James E. “Lost Huntington: Ohio Valley Bus Co.” Herald Dispatch, October 11, 2016. https://www.herald-dispatch.com/special/lost_huntington/lost-huntington-ohio-valley-bus-co/article_166c5977-5da1-5586-a08a-3b8cf08a0051.html.

Casto, James E. "TTA Celebrating 45 Years of Service." The Herald-Dispatch. Last modified August 17, 2017. https://www.herald-dispatch.com/tta-celebrating-45-years-of-service/article_12914b72-ccbf-5219-98c3-3e7a7f1d9e42.html.

Huntington. Huntington, WV: Huntington Chamber of Commerce, 1916.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Casto, James E. “Marathon Bus Strike of '71, '72 Wrote an End to Private Service.” Herald Dispatch, November 27, 2011. https://www.herald-dispatch.com/news/marathon-bus-strike-of-wrote-an-end-to-private-service/article_d64b352d-7e28-5d22-a7e6-6c98326f3953.html.

Casto, James E. “Marathon Bus Strike of '71, '72 Wrote an End to Private Service.” Herald Dispatch, November 27, 2011. https://www.herald-dispatch.com/news/marathon-bus-strike-of-wrote-an-end-to-private-service/article_d64b352d-7e28-5d22-a7e6-6c98326f3953.html.

Casto, James E. “Marathon Bus Strike of '71, '72 Wrote an End to Private Service.” Herald Dispatch, November 27, 2011. https://www.herald-dispatch.com/news/marathon-bus-strike-of-wrote-an-end-to-private-service/article_d64b352d-7e28-5d22-a7e6-6c98326f3953.html.

Casto, James E. “Marathon Bus Strike of '71, '72 Wrote an End to Private Service.” Herald Dispatch, November 27, 2011. https://www.herald-dispatch.com/news/marathon-bus-strike-of-wrote-an-end-to-private-service/article_d64b352d-7e28-5d22-a7e6-6c98326f3953.html.

Casto, James E. “Marathon Bus Strike of '71, '72 Wrote an End to Private Service.” Herald Dispatch, November 27, 2011. https://www.herald-dispatch.com/news/marathon-bus-strike-of-wrote-an-end-to-private-service/article_d64b352d-7e28-5d22-a7e6-6c98326f3953.html.

Casto, James E. "TTA Celebrating 45 Years of Service." The Herald-Dispatch. Last modified August 17, 2017. https://www.herald-dispatch.com/tta-celebrating-45-years-of-service/article_12914b72-ccbf-5219-98c3-3e7a7f1d9e42.html.

“Ohio Valley Bus Company Strike.” Ohio Valley Bus Company Strike. Huntington, WV: WSAZ-TV3, November 12, 1971.

“Ohio Valley Bus Company Strike.” Ohio Valley Bus Company Strike. Huntington, WV: WSAZ-TV3, November 12, 1971.