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From a life of raising chickens and saving souls, Charles Maust, a Baptist minister who ran a poultry farm on the shores of Green Lake in 1902 took to also hauling coal that year. Maust trucks are still hauling as the company climbs the driveway to its centennial.
Maust built his namesake block at the flatiron corner of 73rd and Winona in 1906. He rented the upstairs corner office to the physician Herman Greiner and the center storefront to a cobbler, and he attached a gaudy second structure at the north end on which he marketed the range of his service. Coal, wood, sand, gravel, flour, spuds, brick, lime, cement, plaster: those are the stables of 1906.
Although the company home and stables were beside the lake they did much of their hauling on the central waterfront. One of the earliest contracts was with Black Diamond coal. Loaded at the pier Maust wagons carried the coal to both commercial and residential customers all over town. Eventually, Maust rolling stock was active from Blaine to Olympia. From canteens to chicken feed Maust trucks helped built Fort Lewis and also service a route of chicken farmers around Tacoma.
The company was also handling fish, and it was as a mover of fish – canned, fresh and frozen – that Maust ultimately got its reputation. For years it was headquartered at Pier 54, sharing it with Ivar’s Acres of Clams and the Washington Fish and Oyster Company. Maust however never gave up the claim, “We Haul Just About Everything.”
Three Maust generations — Charles, Harold and Norman — ran the company until 1996 when long-time company employee — and Norm Maust’s friend — Gary Dennis took over. Included in the company lore is a recollection by Charles’ son Harold how during the Great Depression his dad laid him off in favor of a married man who had a family. As Harold noted, “My dad was a fair man – took care of everybody and was well liked.” Evidently, the Baptist preacher turned trucker kept his interest in souls.