When I was a small boy and would go visit the Holland Page Construction Yard. My greatest thrill of all was when we would go there and his big Kenworth Haul Truck was there dropping off or picking up a load. Below is a picture of a truck that looks so much like that old Kenworth. It was a 1940 model.
It was retired in 1964, with 4.5 million miles on it. The same driver had picked it up at he factory and driven it every mile or so was the tale. His name was Mullins. I have no idea what his given name was. He was called Mullins by everyone.
Mullins had started to work for Mr. Page back just before the truck was purchased. There were a lot of Military Bases and Government work that Holland Page Construction built. Mullins worked 7 days a week much of the time. I was told that he went a year at a time without a day off. Limits on how much a driver could drive hadn’t been dreamed up at that time. As many miles as that seems like, I did some quick calculations and it’s completely believable that he covered that much ground during those years. I believe it only had the engine rebuilt 4 times during its life.
Around 1965, Mr. Page decided he needed to retire, so the old Kenworth and Mullins were both retired too.
After I was grown I landed in Austin, working from one end of the city to the other, I spotted the old Kenworth, abandoned. I was sure that was it. A company, Sharp’s Sandblasting that used to be on the northwest corner of what is now US 183 and Mopac Blvd. had the old Kenworth sitting out in their yard.
I stopped one day and inquired about it and sure enough, that was the truck. There were plans to rebuild it. When highway expansion started and development overtook that area, Sharp’s moved and so did the truck.
I always dreamed of one day finding that truck and bringing it back to life. A dream never realized. I never saw the old Kenworth after it left there.
In the 70s and 80s I would see and visit Mr. Page. He lived at Riverside Dr. and I-35 on top of the hill over looking the city. He lost his wife a few years earlier. In his later years he had a driver than would deliver him to Jim’s Coffee Shop for breakfast. We got to visit occasionally. It was always nice listening to his many stories. His mind was really good. He had started building Texas roads with teams of mules and fresnos and built roads for more than 40 year. There were always plenty of tales he could tell.
In November of 1983 Cec we got an invitation to attend his 90th birthday celebration in Lockhart, his boyhood hometown. Cec and I went down there. There were many of the old timers there that day. I don’t think I ever saw him after that day. He passed away in 1987.
When I wrote that Mr. Page built roads for more than 40 years, that sounds like a long career. Now I am looking back at being in the construction business for almost 50 years, and realize Mr. Holland Page wasn’t really all that old after all.