Our History

National Van Lines

National Van Lines HistoryOur moving company is proud to have a history of service that stretches back nearly 100 years. What started as a one-man operation has now grown into a full-service moving company that provides the best in residential moving, commercial moving, warehouse and storage, and more. Originating in Chicago, National Van Lines today offers moving services across the country and the world, and we’re standing by to help make your next relocation experience the easiest ever.

From Humble Beginnings

F.J. McKeeNational Van Lines got its start in 1901 when F.J. McKee, grandfather of current CEO Maureen Beal, began using one wagon pulled by a single pony to deliver ice and coal in the Chicago area. Due to his success in the area, McKee began to branch out, ultimately moving vaudeville sets for acting troupes and even the world-famous Charlie Chaplin. As word got out about the care with which McKee handled his customers’ belongings, greater success soon followed, and by 1916, McKee had an entire fleet of trucks at his command to provide even more moving services.

Overcoming Adversity

National Van Lines Truck from the Great DepressionDespite the success of F.J. McKee and the early incarnation of National Van Lines, there was also adversity to overcome. A fire destroyed McKee’s warehouse in 1917, leaving him with only one truck. McKee was also diagnosed with tuberculosis shortly after, prompting him to move west with his family to recover. Not one to be defeated, McKee eventually moved back to the Chicago area at the age of 50 to once again assist customers with their moving needs. Little did he know that in that year, 1929, the Great Depression was looming.

Passing the Torch

While it might seem that things looked bleak for National Van Lines after such a struggle, the McKee family stood firm. F.J. McKee decided in 1931 to pass the torch of National Van Lines to his son, F.L. McKee, the father of CEO Maureen Beal. At the time, F.L. McKee was making a name for himself in Hollywood as a tenor with an amazing voice. In fact, F.L. McKee has performed with famous legends including Bing Crosby and Shirley Temple. While Hollywood was certainly a draw, F.L. McKee couldn’t pass up the chance to join the family business and assist customers with professional moving services.

A New Beginning

As the trucking industry, at the time unregulated, began to become more lucrative, National Van Lines took hold and even set the standard for professionalism. Because truckers at the time were largely allowed to do as they pleased, few records were kept and service was often poor. National Van Lines saw this and decided to become the exception to the rule by providing superior customer service through honesty and integrity. As a result National Van Lines became only the second operating authority for coast to coast transport in the country in 1942, and by 1945, the company was one of only five operators designated to service all 48 states.

National Van Lines Today

Today, National Van Lines is headed by CEO Maureen Beal, the third generation in the McKee family. Maureen Beal is proud to be one of the few female CEOs in the moving and storage industry, and through her guidance, National Van Lines has become a worldwide success with over 400 agents, including military and domestic partners. Maureen Beal understands that moving is about more than simply relocating – it’s about creating new memories and bringing past memories with you. As a result, National Van Lines’ motto, “Moving Your Memories,” is meant to be a reminder to our customers that we’ll always treat their belongings with care and respect.

To find out more about our history, or to find movers near you, contact National Van Lines today at 877-590-2810.