The City of Ann Arbor, once just a little new village named after two of the founders’ wives, has a long and storied history which includes the taxicab industry.
One of the most successful long running taxi firms was started by the Walker family back in the year 1893. Around that time, the cab business was ran by horses pulling a carriage, better known as hackney carriages in those days.
When Mr. A. B. Walker bought his first livery from the McMaster livery stable on E. Liberty Street he renamed it Columbia Livery and never looked back. He kept on buying more liveries around 1901 and 1909 and had a nice operation going in the town.
Mr. A. B. Walker’s new livery purchases allowed him to finally see that a change was in order and it was time to brand his company the Walker Livery, but not too long after that, the horseless carriage (automobile) was transforming the nation and the way people lived. He realized that he must sell all 32 horses he had and his equipment at auction to get ready for this new self propelled motor coach.
After the auction, Mr. A. B. Walker, then agreed to enter into partnership with 3 other men and they started an operation associated with Ann Arbor Garage which was also a Buick agency. This new business venture was the start of the Ann Arbor Taxicab & Transfer Co., they had a fleet of 10 cab vehicles and 3 trucks.
Mr. A. B. Walker’s for-hire transportation business kept on growing about the same as it did with the horse and carriage livery business. He must of done pretty well for himself after the partnership dissolved because he eventually owned 25 checker and yellow cabs in Ann Arbor.
We ask, what did he owe his success too besides hard work? He truly must have known how to save wisely and invest his earnings. Mr. A. B. Walker had to believe in himself and stay dedicated to his entrepreneurial vision.
Mr. A. B. Walker passed on the 15th day of March in 1928, he spent over 30 years in the transportation industry and left his taxi business to be managed by his son and daughter like most family owned businesses do.
Our goal is to keep the long history of the Ann Arbor Taxi business alive and well even with the new age of automation underway.
You can find more about this story and the Ann Arbor News original by visiting the Ann Arbor District Library website here: AADL.