Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Wheels on the Bus: Walton's School Bus

by Kristine Schmucker, HCHM Curator

If you stop by the museum this month, you will notice that our south gallery is a jumble of cases, objects and photographs.  On January 18, 2014 two exhibits will open; Games People Play and Walton.  Today's post will highlight one object that will be part of the Walton exhibit.

The yellow school bus is a familiar sight in Harvey County, but getting to school may not have always been so easy.  Most people who grew up in a rural area in the early to mid 1900s probably remember walking to school or riding a horse.

In 1916, the children attending the Walton school rode a bus.

Walton School Bus, 1916
Built by Ed Berner
Kenneth Davis standing at the door.
HCHM Photo Archives

Walton's first school bus was built by Ed Berner.  He got the engine from Kansas City. The wheels and chassis came from another source. He built everything else and put it all together.  Berner was prepared for bad weather.  When it was cold or rainy, he covered the children with a tarp to keep them warm and dry on the ride.

By 1933, Walton students rode to school in a covered bus.  Jake Hiebert was the bus driver. In later years, Hiebert built a model of the bus he drove. 

Walton School Bus Model
Built by Jake Hiebert
Courtesy Dean Davis

Walton School Bus Model
Built by Jake Hiebert
Courtesy Dean Davis

This model will be a part of the exhibit, Walton, opening on January 18. Thanks to Dean Davis and the Walton Historical Society for loaning objects and photographs for the exhibit.

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