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Bob Lind, Published February 16 2013

Lind: Many readers share memories of horse-drawn school buses

Here’s some background on Terrance “Terry” Henriksen, of Laveen, Ariz., the man who asked for memories about the horse-drawn wagons and sleighs, nicknamed “hacks,” that served as school buses years ago.

Terry was born in Langdon, N.D., raised on a farm at Calvin, N.D., and was a funeral director in Grafton, N.D. He later was the executive director of the North Dakota Funeral Directors Association for 11 years. He retired last year.

Terry says he knows most of the funeral directors in North Dakota and northwest Minnesota.

His inquiry about hacks brought in many replies. Neighbors has run some of them. Here are more.

Vicki Hoffart, of Ellendale, N.D., says her mother talked of going to school in a horse-drawn vehicle.

Michelle Holm, of Alamo, N.D., found a picture of a hack at this website: www.schoolbusdriver.org/oldshots.html.

Joel Grove, of Glen Arm, Md., grew up in Egeland, N.D., not far from Terry’s hometown of Calvin. “We used to play them in basketball – quite a few years ago when both towns actually had high schools,” he says.

Joel writes that the Towner County Historical Society and Museum in Egeland has a hack on display. It was owned by the late Egeland farmer Sam Nikolaisen.

Bob Fritel, of Wolford, N.D., says he rode in a hack his father built for him and his brother.

Bob says the Hawk Museum near Wolford has two hacks on display; both are mounted on bobsleds, with four runners. He says the museum’s curator didn’t think any hacks were commercially built, but that all were built by farm families to transport children to school, as was the case with his own father.

Meg Ridl, of Fargo, as have others, reports that the Pioneer Village museum near Stump Lake in North Dakota has a hack on display.

Neola Cross, of Milnor, N.D., says her late husband made more than 50 horse-drawn vehicles after he retired. One of them was a school bus like the one Terry remembered.

Her husband “rode it to school in the ’30s and early ’40s,” Neola says. “He painted his green with a window on the ends and a bench on each side.”

Her son in Pahrump, Nev., now has that hack.

And so hack memories – and some actual hacks – live on. Neighbors eventually will have more stories about them.


If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to (701) 241-5487; or email blind@forumcomm.com