Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Monday, March 30, 2009
The Valentine Diner at the Museum has been restored and is located across from the Bus Exhibit. It's name is the Flo-Inn Cafe, originally a "Kings-X" restaurant at the intersection of Emporia and Harry streets in Wichita. It was purchased from Jimmie King in either 1948 or 1950 by Florence Fortnoy, who operated it into the late 1980s.
In its last years as an active diner, it was only open for breakfast. Flo kept the restaurant open for the benefit of the regular morning customers who had become like family. A full basement was underneath the diner. Flo Fortnoy once remarked that when the Valentine company got into financial trouble, the salesmen were always trying to get her to buy a new model. The diner was restored by the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) Museum and is now on display there fulltime along with photographs and memorabilia from the original diner in use.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
While chronological gaps in their collection certainly exist, when displayed together publicly, it is a most impressive array of bus equipment. The bulk of the vintage fleet is made up of a wide variety of "new look" or fishbowl buses, so named for their sleeker design from the 1960s. These models featured much larger windows than their predecessors. Rounding out the collection are two models from the next generation of advanced design buses. First making their appearance in the early 1980s, many are still on the road today. This includes the "RTS", the most common workhorse of the NY City Transit buses in use over the past two decades.
Here's a quick rundown of the fleet:
Bus #303 - 1917 Fifth Avenue Coach open top double decker bus (used 1917-1930)
Bus #2124 - 1938 Fifth Avenue Coach Queen Mary double decker bus (used 1938-1953)
Bus #2969 - 1949 NYCTA GM 5101 - photographed in the classic TV series "The Honeymooners" (used 1949-1966)
Bus #3100 - 1956 GM 5106 Fifth Avenue Coach (used 1958-mid 1970s)
Bus #6259 - 1956 Mack C49DT (used 1956-1969)
Bus #7144 - 1957 GM 5106 (used 1957-1971)
Bus #9098 - 1958 GM 5106 (used 1958-1972)
Bus #100 - 1959 GM 5301 Fishbowl (used 1959-1973)
Bus #1059 - 1961 GM 5301 Fishbowl (used 1961-1981)
Bus #2151 - 1962 GM 5301 Fishbowl (used 1962-1982)
Bus #3758 - 1963 GM 5303 2nd Generation Fishbowl (used 1963-1982)
Bus #5117 - 1964 Flxible F2D6V-401-1 (used 1964-1983)
Bus #8466 - GM 5303 (used 1966-1990)
Bus #8928 - GM 5305A (used 1968-1984)
Bus #4727 - Flxible 111CC-D51 (used 1969-1988
Bus #5227 - GM "Blitz" 5305A (used 1971-1995
Bus #7340 - Flxible 53102-6-1 (used 1973-1990)
Bus #236 - Grumman 870 (used 1980-1984)
Bus #1201 - GM RTSII-04 (used 1981 - Present)
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
In 1894, the Long Island Electric Railway was incorporated for the purpose of building and operating street railways in Queens County (at that time Queens County included all of present-day Nassau County), and the first route began operating in 1896 from the Kings County Elevated Railroad station at the Brooklyn city line to downtown Jamaica. In the following year service had been extended along present-day Guy R. Brewer Boulevard to Far Rockaway, and along Jamaica Avenue to 212th Street.
In 1899 the Long Island Electric was purchased by the New York & North Shore Railway Company, a subsidiary of the New York & Queens County Railway Company - then the largest street railway operator in Queens. However, the company eventually faltered. In 1902, the original route of the New York & North Shore (Flushing-to-Jamaica along present-day 164th Street) was sold at foreclosure to the New York & Queens County, and the New York & North Shore changed its name back to the Long Island Electric the following year.
The last section of track to be built by the company was a short one-mile extension from 212th Street to the city line on Hempstead Avenue at Belmont Park, this track was placed into service during 1904.
In 1906, August Belmont, president of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company and a director of the Long Island Rail Road, announced that he had acquired a controlling interest in the Long Island Electric; half of his interest in the company was transferred to the Interborough Rapid Transit, and the other half to the Long Island Consolidated Electric Companies, a subsidiary of the Long Island Rail Road.
Fire struck the company's car barn in 1924, and completely destroyed all the company's facilities. This loss, when combined with continuing annual operating losses and nonpayment to bondholders led to a foreclosure on the company that year. The company was sold at a bankruptcy sale in 1926 to American Communities Corporation, a corporation controlled by the Bank of Manhattan. Later that year the company's name was changed to Jamaica Central Railways.
In 1931, the City of New York announced a plan to widen Jamaica Avenue, and would require the company to spend thousands of dollars to relay its track in that street. Rather than undertaking this expensive project the company instead planned to motorize its Jamaica Avenue route, and substitute buses for the streetcars. A subsidiary, Jamaica Buses, Inc., was formed that year to operate buses on the motorized routes. The City of New York granted a franchise to Jamaica Buses, Inc. in 1933 in exchange for the surrender of all the parent company's trolley franchises. With the new bus franchise in hand, the company motorized all the routes in the latter part of the year.
Jamaica Buses experienced financial difficulties and the Mayor offered the Jamaica Buses franchise to Green Bus Lines if the company could act quickly to rescue the company from financial failure. The stockholders of Green Bus Lines agreed to purchase the company. By the 1970s, deferred maintenance had taken its toll on the City's rapid transit system, and additional demands were being made for express bus services between Queens and Manhattan. In response to these requests, Jamaica Buses initiated service an express route from southern Queens County.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Bus driver delivers free home-cooked meals - that's what the headline of CNN Heroes reads. Boy that does my heart good....you can read the entire story here: http://www.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/03/19/cnnheroes.jorge.munoz/index.html
Did you know we have our own "hero" right here at the Museum of Bus Transportation? Pastor Dan Lehman, Vice President of the Board of Directors and our Fleet Manager and Chaplain (firstname.lastname@example.org) began a food pantry several years ago. Donation containers can be found around the Susquehanna Valley AND at the Museum during the months of November and December each year. I believe Dan and his Carry The Light Ministry fed 50 families last year and 40 the year before. He said that the demand grows all the time. The pantry is open year round for those in need. Donations to the ministry or if you are need of food, help or prayers, please contact the ministry by phone at 717 691 8200 or mailing to 16 Dewalt Drive Mechanicsburg, PA. 17050. Thanks Dan for a job well done!
Do you know someone you would like us to highlight in our blog? Please email us the details at email@example.com.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Friday, March 20, 2009
Well, here at the Museum of Bus Transportation--we have yard work to do also. Now is the time of the year to start cleaning up around our Memorial Annex. We are ALWAYS looking for volunteers--do you have a few hours to spare? Although the grass is not ready to be cut yet....it won't be long before it will be needed to be done. Can you help pull a few weeds or "weed wack" a few weeds....or for that mattter...spray down some weed kill to permanently eradicate the weeds? Do you like to be outside at this time of the year? The buses that are outside need to be uncovered and then they will all need to be washed to remove the winter residue. If you can help with any of these items, please contact Dan Lehman (icarrythelight4God@msn.com) to let him know you would like to help--please tell him you saw the request for help in the BLOG!
Thanks for reading the BLOG--if you have any questions/comments, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
As I mentioned in a previous blog, you don't need to wait for an envelope to come in the mail to send in a contribution. Just send your check to Museum of Bus Transportation, 161 Museum Drive, Hershey, PA 17033. You can also make an automatic monthly contribution for as little as $10 a month by using PayPal (http://www.paypal.com/) and use our email address (email@example.com) for payment. This is sort of a "painless" way to give BIG to YOUR Museum. Please think about this. I know everyone is strapped in this economy--but any way you can help would be appreciated.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
The Bus Museum has two fare boxes on the floor–the one closer to the older buses on the floor (and the park bench) is used for the general fund. The second fare box on the other end of the exhibit is used for a specific fund: to repaint the Johnstown Traction Company Bus back into its original colors. More on this subject tomorrow.
Monday, March 16, 2009
There is so much to see at the Museum and it is nice that there is always something new to see. Did you know that the Model Railroad Layout is now a year-round display. It is located on the lower level in the old "education" room. It is a great display--improved over last year--and a fun choice of children of ALL ages.
If you haven't been to the Museum in the while, then I hope you stopped by to checkout the Fitzjohn which is on loan to us from the Wolf Bus Company--I blogged about this earlier in the month. Enjoy your day and enjoy your week!
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Saturday, March 14, 2009
The Museum is pleased to carry many bus models. Of course, our primary source for the “collector” type buses is Corgi. Did you know that the Corgi company was sold and have recently gone through a total overhaul? They are now owned by Hornby America and the Museum has already received an order from the new company. However, let me tell you that they are slow in revving up the models that were shown to be coming out by Corgi just before the buyout. But if you are patient—you will soon see these on our shelves. We are happy to be able to sell a Corgi model of one of our very own buses—the 1947 FLXIBLE 29B-47 7910 Capitol Bus Company 64. You can see the model on our Gift Shop Page (http://www.busmuseum.org/GiftShop.html) and order it through there. Unfortunately, most of the other models we received from Corgi are not purchased in the quantity that allows us to offer them online but if you visit our gift shop you can purchase them there.
Also, if you are a member and receive our “Musings” you will see we have a “resident” toy expert, Doug Campbell—who not only keeps us informed of new bus models available but does a great job in describing them for us with tips on the hobby of collecting. If you aren’t a member yet, please visit our Membership Page (http://www.busmuseum.org/Membership.html) and sign up today.
Friday, March 13, 2009
For those of you that are in the area, this weekend (March 14, 15) is Community Days at the Museum and all admission fees are $5.00 (that is a half-price saving). The Museum displays more than 100 antique cars, motorcycles and, of course, buses in unique themed settings. The permanent collection of the car museum features “From Sea to Shining Sea” a stroll through the United States from New York in the early 1900’s through to San Francisco in the 1970’s. This exhibit highlights an early 1900’s machine shop, a 1930’s Art Deco scene, a 1940’s Gas Station and a 1950’s drive-in. The Museum also is home to an authentic Valentine Diner that was moved to the Museum from its original home in Wichita, KS, where it functioned as a diner through 1983. So why not take the time to visit YOUR museum and get a great deal on the entrance fee! In fact, why not bring the whole family!
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Most school buses were painted yellow beginning in 1939. In April of that year, Dr. Frank W. Cyr, a professor at Teachers College at Columbia University in New York organized a conference that established national school bus construction standards, including the standard color of yellow for the school bus. It became known officially as National School Bus Chrome, later renamed "National School Bus Chrome Yellow". The color, which has come to be frequently called simply "school bus yellow", was selected because black lettering on that hue was easiest to see in the semi-darkness of early morning and late afternoon.
The conference met for seven days and the attendees created a total of 45 standards, including specifications regarding body length, ceiling height, and aisle width. Dr. Cyr's conference, funded by a US $5,000 grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, was also a landmark event inasmuch as it included transportation officials from each of the then 48 states, as well as specialists from school bus manufacturing and paint companies. The conference approach to school bus safety, as well as the yellow color, has endured into the 21st century.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
The Pierce-Arrow was a United States based company from 1901 to 1938. Pierce-Arrow is best known for their expensive luxury automobiles; but they also manufactured commercial motor trucks, fire trucks, bicycles, and and buses.
The ancestor of Pierce-Arrow was the George N. Pierce Company, founded by George N. Pierce (1846-1911) of Buffalo, NY, which made various products including bicycles and bird-cages. In 1901 he started the George N. Pierce Motor Company, producing a small single-cylinder engine automobile, the Pierce, with some modest success. In 1903 he decided to concentrate on making a larger more luxurious auto for the upscale market, and the Pierce-Arrow was born. This proved Pierce's most successful product, and these solidly built cars with powerful engines gained much positive publicity by winning various auto races. In 1908 Pierce Motor was renamed The Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Company.
In 1909, US President William Howard Taft ordered two Pierce-Arrows to be used for state occasions, the first official automobiles of the White House. Through 1914 Pierce-Arrow also produced a line of motorcycles. In 1928 Studebaker acquired a controlling interest in Pierce-Arrow, although the two companies continued to maintain separate engineering and production facilities. Studebaker sold out their interest in Pierce-Arrow to a group of Buffalo businessmen in 1933. Starting in 1936 Pierce-Arrow produced a line of camper-trailers, the Pierce-Arrow Travelodge. In 1938 Pierce-Arrow was declared insolvent and the company was liquidated.
The Museum of Bus Transportation now has in its possession the 1929 Pierce Arrow that hauled Lowell Fulson & His Band around in the film Ray, which depicted the life and times of R&B musician Ray Charles. The Pierce Arrow was donated to the Museum by Robert Walsh, Indianapolis, IN. Pierce Arrow made only a few buses, all body-on-chassis units
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Of course, we don’t have the room to display all of our buses at one time but a few years ago we were blessed to be able to purchase a building on approximately 2 acres of ground that is actually (as the crow flies) a stone’s throw distance from the present Museum location. We are currently looking into whether or not we can build an extension or additional shelter for the extra buses we have stored outside. This, of course, does not come without a price. In the last Musings, we included an envelope for those of you who are able to help us through these tough times. Your donations are tax deductible because we are a 501c(3) corporation. Please take the time now write us a check if you can and earmark it for BUILDING FUND. Send it in the self-addressed envelope or mail it to Museum of Bus Transportation, 161 Museum Drive, Hershey, PA 17033. You can also make a donation by using our PayPal account and sending the money through to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for any help you can give us in this matter. Further details about our building will be in another blog.
Monday, March 9, 2009
A nice piece of history about the Rosa Parks bus is included in the timeline and the Museum of Bus Transportation celebrates Black History Month every February with a special handout about this bus. Even though we are already into March--make a note to visit us NEXT February and ask for a copy of this special handout.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Another nice thing to do on a Sunday afternoon when you have some free time is to VOLUNTEER at the Museum. We are always looking for people to be on the floor and we get a large amount of families on Sunday afternoons. In 2008, we had a total of 14 different volunteers (and please note, they are not just Board Members!) who decided to help us out up close and personal with the buses. AND, they are not just local people either--they come from as far away as Baltimore, the Philadelphia suburbs, and New Jersey! These 14 volunteers put in a total of 1,136.5 hours--that is quite an accomplishment! If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please contact Oliver Ogden (email@example.com) and he will be happy to fill you in on the details of signing up as a volunteer with the Museum. We also have several volunteers who help out at the Memorial Annex, either working on buses or working on the grounds--yes, folks, we have approximately 2 acres of grounds to keep up and during the summer months, that means mowing the grass and keeping after the weeds! So there is always something to be done. If you would like to volunteer at the Memorial Annex, please contact Dan Lehman, Fleet Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org) and he can give you the schedule for the upcoming season.
Several of our newest volunteers stepped up to the plate after our Annual Meeting in October and we want to say a big thank you to them for doing that! Remember, this is YOUR museum! We are all volunteers and we always need more help. Spring and better weather is on its way (did you remember to turn your clocks ahead?) and these two areas give you an excuse to get out!
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Fitzjohn buses were manufactured in Muskegon, Michigan, from 1927 until 1958. During the period in which they were built, deliveries were made to various transit and intercity properties all over the US. Some rather large deliveries were made to Mexican and Canadian operators as well.
Fitzjohn's intercity buses were operated by various members of the National Railways Bus System but we have no records of any of them running in Greyhound fleets. They were, perhaps, more famous for their city buses such as the model FTG that we have on display. City buses, produced by Fitzjohn, were low-cost, low-maintenance, and affordable buses. A lot of their repeat business was with Western Pennsylvania operators, especially in the greater Pittsburgh area.
Prior to the creation of the current Port Authority in Pittsburgh in the early 1960s, there were 28 private bus companies offering transit services to various areas in Pittsburgh and vicinity. Most of them had Fitzjohn buses in their fleets--with varying engine types (Fitzjohn offered gas or diesel powerplants by several engine manufacturers). They were common sights on Pittsburgh streets. Hope you have a chance to visit the Museum while this restored bus is on the Floor? If not, then take the time to visit us. We are open 7 days a week, 9-5 pm.
Friday, March 6, 2009
Within easy driving distance is also the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg (http://www.nationalcivilwarmuseum.org/index_1.php) which gives a unique perspective of this event by showing both the north and the south’s view of the war! So when you’re planning your 2009 get-away, plan on visiting the Museum of Bus Transportation in beautiful Hershey, PA (http://www.hersheypa.com/).
Our location is also only 40 minutes away from Amish Country and Lancaster County (http://www.padutchcountry.com/) which is full of wonderful attractions and shopping. If you are into transportation, a great place is Strasburg and all their Railroad related stops. ENJOY!
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Don’t forget to set your clocks ahead on Sunday morning as Daylight Savings Time returns early this year.
Have you noticed the photo I used on this page? It is our Red-White-Blue political bus that was donated by Gant Redmon and his wife several years ago. It is pictured here all decorated for our 2008 Spring Fling. This bus is a 1953 GM TGH 3201 and has a huge political history. We are proud to own it. The bus was involved in practically every Republican campaign held in Virginia from 1967 until 2002, which included local, state and national elections. We have photos of it in the 1968 Richard Nixon Presidential campaign. The bus also has quite a social pedigree: it was on National Television the morning after the opening of the Gala at the Kennedy Center in 1971, having borne an entire party from the home of one of the Committee members to the red carpet under the TV lights. During the Nation’s Bicentennial Celebration on July 4, 1976, the bus had a pole position next to the Washington Monument (in the parking lot next to the Tidal Basin near where Fannie Fox leaped in after a hasty exit from the car of Wilbur Mills), where it served as headquarters for a number of families all day right through the Beach Boys’ Concert in the evening. This is just a little bit of the history of one of our buses. Don’t forget to check it out when you come to the Spring Fling in June. It will be parked outside at our Memorial Annex.