Carpenter-Dodge School Bus, 1939

This bus carried rural children to the Martinsburg, Indiana school in the 1940s. Busing enabled children to attend consolidated schools, which were larger than one-room schools and had better curricula, teachers, and facilities. All-steel school buses like this one were safer than earlier school buses, which had wooden bodies. The paint color, double deep orange, was common at the time, but yellow later became the standard color for school buses. This body was built by Carpenter Body Works of Mitchell, Indiana in 1936 and later was attached to a 1939 Dodge chassis.
date made
ca 1936-1939
used date
Carpenter Body Works, Inc.
Dodge Manufacturing Company
Associated Place
United States: Indiana
overall: 8 11/16 ft x 7 15/16 ft x 22 11/16 ft; 2.6414 m x 2.4128 m x 6.9086 m
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Donated by Carpenter Body Works, Inc.
See more items in
Work and Industry: Transportation, Road
Road Transportation
America on the Move
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History


"My family lived on Dutch Creek near Martinsburg. It is very likely my father, aunts, and uncles road this bus. We lived in Palmyra Indiana just a few miles from Martinsburg. This bus, when replaced, was used by a local gentleman to deliver and sell groceries to local farmers. It sat idle in the side yard of a house less than two blocks from where we lived. We played around it but paid no attention to it. One day it was just gone. Glad you found it, now we know what happened to it!"
This is a great picture with a great history behind it. I always appreciate learning and finding out more about how things were used to be.

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