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School Buggy

School BuggyTaken in 1934, this old photo shows the old horse-drawn Locke Twp. school bus said to be taken at what is now Amish Acres Historic Farmstead. For nearly a decade, Isaac Miller of Nappanee had the distinction of being the driver of the only horse-drawn school bus in Elkhart County. His route was from the western route of Nappanee to the Weldy school in Locke Twp. From Jackson Twp., Kosciusko County, when Irvin Stahly was trustee. The seating capacity of the bus was 22, though for several years the usual load was 25. A wood burning heater fastened below the central part of the bus furnished sufficient heat through the floor register to keep the driver and passangers comfortable in the coldest weather. A fire extinguisher was in easy reach to the driver for quick use in case of emergency. At the rear of the bus was a red-globed lantern and a tail light run by storage battery. Mr Miller was proud of his record concerning safety and comfort of the children he transported in the bus. No accidents had occurred and the bus had never been snow-bound or prevented from making a trip on account of weather.

The cost of transporting each pupil was 15 cents a day for the whole 10-mile trip. Each one-way took about 50 minutes. George Hartman, serving as Locke County Trustee when this photo was taken, stated that the bus would have to be replaced by a more modern one by 1940, under a new law requiring steel bodies and shatterproof glass for school buses.

German One Room SchoolhouseUp until the 1940’s Amish children attended public one-room schools – Weldy, Borkholder, Best, and Burlington. The Borkholder Amish School House, built in 1942, is the oldest Amish one-room school house in the Nappanee area. It was acquired by Amish Acres for relocation, preservation, and restoration. It sat less than a mile from the farm since the 1870s or earlier when it was built. It has been moved to the historic farmstead, preserved, restored, and used for interpretation to school groups. The school joins the original horse-drawn school bus that area children rode to and from school.

Amish students also came to the German School House several days a week; this school was designed to teach German to Amish students and housed spelling bees one night a week attended by the families and complete with a carry in super. This 20 by 36 foot building was constructed in the late 19th century one half mile west of Amish Acres on the old Bremen-Nappanee road.