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Hibbing, Minnesota

Greyhound Bus Museum

An abandoned bus station transformed into a museum dedicated to the history of Greyhound Lines, in the place where it all began. 

Greyhound began as an intercity bus line in Minnesota. Its founder, Carl Eric Wickman, would transport miners the two miles from Hibbing to neighboring town of Alice (which had more bars) in his seven seat Hupmobile. The business expanded fast, meeting the needs of an ever more interconnected America. 

 

The name “Greyhound” apparently came from Wickman’s sighting of his bus’ reflection in the glass window of a storefront. The sleek gray reflection zooming by reminded him of a racing dog speeding down the track. That sleek image became one of the best known brands in the U.S.

The buses themselves took on a new meaning in 1961, becoming a symbol of the Civil Rights movement when a bus carrying Freedom Riders was firebombed in Alabama. Images of the gutted bus were representative of the violence committed against black protesters by hate groups.

The Greyhound Bus Museum, however, came not from the Greyhound company but from one man who stumbled upon the abandoned bus station in Hibbing, the birthplace of Greyhound. Colorful and “Streamline Moderne” in style, the old station has been repurposed as a museum dedicated to the history of Greyhound Lines. Gene Nicolelli, a Hibbing resident, knew the place had significance to his town and wanted to commemorate it. It took nearly 20 years to get funding from the state, but by then Nicolelli had a wealth of Greyhound memorabilia. There are badges, uniforms, awards (like the 1961 Gold Steering Wheel for Safe Driving) and of course, buses. 

Know Before You Go

The museum is open from late May to mid-September. During the winter months it can be opened with advanced reservations for groups of 10 or more. It's still worth a stop even in the winter; you can see many of the buses from the parking lot. There are even a few placards outside. Also nearby is the "Iron and Rose Garden," a unique floral attraction in the museum's parking lot. It's tended by the local gardening club and honors the town's heritage of iron as well as beautiful roses.

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