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Cab for Class


The Fargo Forum reported a novel solution for rural school transportation on this date in 1955. After the closure of their rural school southwest of Fargo, four sisters were ferried to school and home again in a yellow checkered taxi-cab.

The four Odegaard sisters, two sets of fraternal twins, attended the District 9 Prairie Grove School in Stanley Township until 1954, when the school was forced to close its doors due to funding issues and low enrollment. Several of the remaining students were bussed to the rural St. Benedict School in Wild Rice, North Dakota, and others were sent to Fargo’s Agassiz School. Most of the Agassiz students were able to ride to class with their parents, who worked in the city and traveled into Fargo each morning. The Odegaard sisters, however, lacked a means of getting to class. The four girls had walked the mile to Prairie Grove each day from their rural farm, but the six mile trip to the new Agassiz School proved too far for walking. Since the girls’ father, Mr. Solveig Odegaard, had passed away in 1952, their mother and older brother Lowell had worked the family farm. Mrs. Odegaard asked the School Board if rural bussing could be an option, but the board ruled bussing too expensive and unnecessary, given the very small number of students needing it. Instead, the Board looked into possible alternatives, and found they could contract a taxi-cab from the Doyle Checker Cab Company in Fargo for only $2.40 each way. The trip then would cost the Board only $4.80 a day and provide reliable transportation for the four girls. So, the twins from the farm, 13-year old Diane and Donna and 11-year old Joan and June, began traveling to their new school in big-city style.

Their chauffeur, Mr. Hilmer Svaleson, drove the sisters to class each day. Svaleson told the Forum, “They’re just wonderful youngsters. The four of them sit in the back seat and talk back and forth, and before you know it, the trip’s over.” The Doyle employee liked the run, claiming it gave him something to look forward to each day.

Dakota Datebook written by Jayme L. Job


The Fargo Forum and Daily Republican. Sunday, January 30, 1955 (Morning ed.): p. 30.