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Bob Lind, Published October 14 2013

Neighbors: Origin of name 'hack' for horse-drawn school buses varies

Several people have mentioned the old horse-drawn school buses nicknamed the “hack,” one of which is on display at Bonanzaville in West Fargo.

Andrew Nielsen, curator at Bonanzaville, says this hack is pretty well intact, has four runners, a canvas top and a small stove to keep the kids warm.

Andrew says that from what he’s read, there are differing ideas about how those vehicles picked up the “hack” name.

One possibility is that it was derived from the French word ‘haquenee,’ which means a medium-sized horse, Andrew says. “But the more probable origin is that it comes from the village of Hackney, which now is a part of London, England.

“A manufacturer in that village became well-known for producing horse-drawn coaches and carriages, which were often used as taxis or rides for hire in London. So any hire carriage became known as a hack.

“A school bus could probably fit the bill of a hired ride,” Andrew notes.

Could be. Just not sure how much dad got paid for being the driver, though.

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