Franklin "Frank" Parmelee 1816-1904
Edward, Ebenezer, Oliver, Jonathan, Joshua, John, John

Past meets the present in Chicago: Frank Parmelee's omnibus company has become the Continental
Airport Express shuttle fleet.


Chicago -- The city saluted Franklin "Frank" Parmelee on Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2003, by naming a street after him!

Over the years so many of you have asked about the Parmelee Transfer Co. of Chicago, which shuttled people between depots, hotels and the docks over the years by wagon, omnibus, taxis and vans. The firm had its beginnings as Parmelee's omnibus line in 1853. Previous to that, the Windy City's various hotels ran their own wagons to and from the train depots for their guests. Frank's stables, at Franklin and Van Buren streets, were among the first structures destroyed in the Great Fire of 1871; eight weeks later, he was back in business. (Parmelee Transfer passes, like the one at the right, can be found in The Attic.) Today the company is known as the Continental Airport Express, which transports more than 1 million passengers annually to and from Chicago's airports.

The company celebrated its 150th anniversary with a small ceremony at Monroe Street and Racine Avenue in downtown Chicago. Braving the rain that day were cousin Robert Parmelee (in costume as one of the old-time omnibus drivers), several other family members, company representatives and city officials. Bob, as you recall, has written a book about the company.

Joining in the celebration above are, from left, Byrd F. Parmelee, Nancy Parmelee, Robert Parmelee, Alderman Walter Burnett Jr., Richard Parmelee and John McCarthy, company president. At left, Bob displays the interior of one of the old carriages with company president McCarthy and Alderman Burnett.

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