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Home North Carolina Pamlico County City of Oriental Historical Markers First Motorized School Bus

First Motorized School Bus

NC-55 at Church Street, Oriental, NC, USA

Latitude & Longitude: 35° 1' 45.0408", -76° 41' 41.7768"
  North Carolina State Historical Marker
    North Carolina State
Historical Marker
    Marker Text:
"On September 5, 1917, the Pamlico Co. School system inaugurated the first motorized school bus service in North Carolina."
     Pamlico County, among the most rural counties in the state, sought to institute a program to provide a quality education at the beginning of the twentieth century. One way in which Pamlico’s superintendent and Board of Education sought to institute reform was to make transportation for students faster and easier with the state’s first motorized school bus. Prior to the advent of widespread use of automobiles, horse-drawn wagons were used to transport students to school. The state first became involved in transportation issues in 1911 when it provided that student transportation could come at public expense.

     In the wake of legislative authority, Pamlico County School Superintendent T.B. Attmore worked to increase local school tax rates. Attmore used the additional funds to purchase the first public school bus used in the state for $1,379 from the Corbett Company of Henderson. This first school bus could seat thirty passengers and was used to transport students in the Oriental Consolidated School district. Consolidation of rural schools was seen by many leading statewide educators as the best solution for providing quality education for students. The introduction of a motorized bus to deliver students from outlying areas to the schoolhouse was considered an organizational triumph.

     To publicize his innovation, Attmore drove the bus to Raleigh and provided the governor and other politicians with a ride around the city. The first local bus driver in the county was Zeb E. Brinson of Arapahoe and the first stop was at the First Methodist Church where several students boarded the bus. Marshalling in a new era of student transportation, the success of Pamlico’s first school bus was quickly followed by purchases of similar trucks for other eastern rural counties.

“Pamlico Motorizes its School Traffic,” (Raleigh) News and Observer, September 5, 1917
“Pamlico County in the Lead,” North Carolina Education (October 1917)
“School Progress in Pamlico County,” North Carolina Education (January 1920)
“Pupil Transportation in North Carolina,” North Carolina Education (November 1967)
Joe A. Mobley, Pamlico County: A Brief History (1991)
First Public School Bus Stop: http://www.itpi.dpi.state.nc.us/counties/Pamlico/Pamlico/arasteps.html
First Motorized School Bus Historical Marker Location Map, Oriental, North Carolina