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Dale’s Daily Data: U-Haul

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It was the summer of 1945, World War Two was over and Sam Shoen had been discharged from the Navy.  He and his wife Anna wanted to move their things from Los Angeles to Portland, Oregon. They tried to rent a utility trailer but they couldn’t find anybody willing to make a one-way rental.  So they had to take only what they could fit in their 1937 Ford and headed north. 

During the trip the two figured there were probably other people in the same situation – especially after the war with families looking to relocate from one part of the country to another.  So they came up with the name and the outline of what was to become U-Haul.  When they arrived in Portland, they invested part of their 5-thousand dollars in savings on trailers they bought from welding shops and second hand from private owners and within two weeks of arriving in Portland, the first U-Haul trailer was parked on a service station lot and being offered for rent.

By the end of 1945, 30 4′ x 7′ open trailers were on service station lots in Portland, Vancouver and Seattle, Washington for rent for $2.00 a day.  By 1949 – you could rent a trailer to move from one city to another practically anywhere in the country.

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