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Bob Lind, Published December 17 2013

Readers continue to send in stories about horse-drawn vehicles called 'hacks"

Stories about the horse-drawn vehicles called “hacks” that hauled kids to and from school years ago continue to come in.

The photo of the hack shown here was sent in by a Forum reader in Mesa, Ariz., who doesn’t want his name used, but who says his father went to school in a hack like this in Cavalier County, N.D., in the 1940s.

Darold Anderson, Fargo, knows hacks well, because he drove one.

He especially remembers the winter of 1947-1948 when he drove country kids to school in Sutton, N.D., west of Cooperstown.

Darold, who then was 20, writes that early in the morning he’d start a fire in a wood-burning stove in the hack, using a six-volt spotlight for illumination “as it was pitch black,” he says.

Then, he’d pick up the kids and drive them to school through snow 3 feet high on the level.

Darold did that for 14½ weeks that winter, totaling 1,100 miles.

The hack rolled once, but nobody was hurt, he says.

Marian Kramer, Fargo, writes that in the late 1930s and early 1940s, when she was growing up on a farm 1½ miles from Heimdal, N.D., east of Harvey, her dad, John A. Solin, built a hack to get the kids to school

“It was a rectangular box on sled runners,” Marian writes. “It was made of plywood and painted green. It had a small glass windshield with two slits cut out for the horses’ reins to come through.

“Dad had a seat to sit on and there was a bench on each side for us kids (who were Marian, her brothers Allan and Cy and her sister Betty). Mom had put old quilts on the benches to sit on and to cover up with. She also heated bricks in the oven and wrapped them in old cloths for us to put our feet on.

“Our neighbor, Adolph Iverson, brought his two sons, Merlyn and Wayne, 1½ miles over to ride with us.

“The roads would all be blocked,” Marian says. “If they weren’t, Dad hauled us in a Model T Ford or we walked.

“We kids enjoyed our rides in the bus,” Marian says, adding that all her family members are deceased except for her and Betty.

Hack stories continue to roll in, so Neighbors will have more for you next year.


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