#118 – Horse drawn school buses lined up on Lafayette Street at the east side of the Camden School, located at the northwest corner of Central Avenue and Lafayette Streets.

The date of this photo is sometime between 1915 and 1920.  Prior to 1915 country children attended one of several rural schools in the Rural School District of Somers Township, while only Camden village children attended the school in this photo, so no horse drawn buses would have been needed.  In the spring of 1915 the Rural School District of Somers Township was dissolved and consolidated with the Camden Village School District, creating the need for student transportation.  Ten wagons, each twelve feet long, were bought from Talbert Brothers, West Elkton, Ohio, for two-hundred, fifty dollars each.  The first drivers were Frank Wood, George Douglas, Charles Austin, Ed Anderson, Mose Dodge, William McFall, Thomas Girton, Ed Johnson, Irwin Flora, and William Byers.  Each bus hauled from twelve to twenty-four pupils.  The drivers furnished their own horses and each man received on average three dollars a day.  Not until 1920 was the first auto school truck used to convey pupils to school in Camden.  (Source:  Master’s Thesis.  History of Camden, Ohio 1803 – 1955, by Ruth Neff, pp 207-208, citing District Board, 1910-1916, p 139 and District Board, 1916-1926, p 222.) This building continued as active classroom space for Preble Shawnee School District well into the second half of the 20th century. This building is now occupied by senior apartments, with a small town park maintained by the Camden Beautification Committee occupying the Central Avenue side of the school yard, in front of the building.

Full Image Camden Archives: