Hello Forest County Residents!
This week’s archival discovery is an excerpt from an article written by Henrietta Knoke in 1957 detailing the use of horse drawn school buses by Forest County schools. The description of this type of travel will make children think twice before they complain about having to ride the bus to school.
“The school bus of 1910-1925 was a wooden vehicle approximately fifteen feet long by five feet in width. The inside was lined with imitation leather padding and the seats consisted of one long seat on each side of the bus placed so close together that the knees of the older students touched when seated. The windows constituted of two parts made of glass. They opened at the middle and one swung up while the other swung down. The bus driver’s seat was built like a chair and he had a square window in the front with holes underneath the window for the reins to go through. The door was in the back of the bus and consisted of two parts as well. In the nice weather of spring all the children would rush to sit by the open windows. There were spaces under each long seat for the children to put their dinner pails and books. In the winter it was very cold. Each bus had a small stove on the outside of the bus with a register entering the bus. Also, each bus was issued four or five heavy robes for the children to cover their laps and feet. Usually the first children on the bus would get the robes and sit by the register and the rest would nearly freeze. There were many times when the horses became mired in the deep snow so it was necessary for the driver to shovel around the horses so they could get a start again. When it sleeted and the roads became icy it was common for all the children to leave the bus at the front of an incline and the older students to push on the bus to help get it to the top. The typical bus ride for students would last for two hours” (Forest Republican 1957).
To learn more about horse drawn buses such as: how the drivers were chosen, special activities during Christmas time, and more hardships due to the weather visit the Crandon Public Library Local History Room.