OLD TOWN, Maine — A century ago, the city of Old Town issued a truck license to John T. Cyr & Sons, a company that has blossomed into a transportation business with more than 250 vehicles and nearly that many employees.
Nearly 500 people joined the company’s centennial celebration on Saturday, according to Joseph Cyr, John T. Cyr’s grandson and current owner and president of the company.
The event drew Old Town residents, Cyr family members and friends, current and former employees and their families, as well as local, state and national government officials.
Joseph Cyr said he never expected the company to get this big. In fact, he said he thought it was “big enough” in the 1970s when the company had about 150 vehicles.
“I never thought I’d live long enough to see our 100th,” the 71-year-old said.
A few years after John T. Cyr moved to Old Town from Caribou in 1903, he started a livery stable with 32 horses. On May 21, 1912, the company obtained its first trucking license. John T. Cyr & Sons counts that as its birthday.
The transportation company has evolved into one of the area’s most important and influential businesses, officials stressed during the event. Four generations of Cyrs have worked at the company, and Joe Cyr said he fully expects the company to stay in family hands for the foreseeable future.
U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a longtime friend of the Cyr family who owns a camp next door to the Cyrs on Cold Stream Pond, attended the event.
“This is a company that has overcome tough times and is thriving,” Collins said, adding that it’s a testament to the family that the business has grown and prospered through economic upheavals and garage fires in both the 1950s and 1970s. The first fire destroyed every one of the company’s eight buses.
A representative from Sen. Olympia Snowe’s office; state Rep. Jim Dill, D-Old Town; Old Town City Manager William Mayo and Council Chairman Jamie Dufour and others also spoke at the event, congratulating the Cyr family on 100 years in business. Gov. Paul LePage also lauded the Cyr bus company in a letter read at the ceremony.
A collection of buses from Cyr’s past and present were on display at the event, including a 1933 Yellow Coach and a 39-seat coach built in 1959. Children played in an inflatable bounce house and scampered up an inflatable slide over and over again.
Joseph Cyr said he isn’t sure what’s next for the family business. In one century it has evolved from a stable with a few dozen horses to an area transportation giant with an armada of 250 buses.
“I take things as they come,” he said.