Thursday, April 30, 2009

Old Blue

Boarding "Old Blue," 1976. University of Kentucky general photographic prints. 2001ua025.

A 1982 article in a men's basketball program proclaimed "A little bit of the United Kingdom has come to the University of Kentucky." The author was referring to "Old Blue," the 1953 double-decker tour bus purchased by the Alumni Association and presented to the university in 1974. Fixed up and given a fresh coat of (blue) paint, "Old Blue" made it's first run September 16, 1974. The bus could be found on the north side of the Administration building every Monday-Friday at 2 p.m., waiting to take visitors on a free 30 minute tour of north, central, and south campus. It was staffed by student tour guides and was a big hit, especially for kids on field trips or attending basketball camps at UK. According to one tour guide, "Kids really think it's fun to ride on the upper deck of 'Old Blue'."

Restoration work on "Old Blue," circa 1974. University of Kentucky general prints. 2001ua025.

Having seen photographs of "Old Blue" in the collections, we wondered what ever happened to the bus. An article by Don White in a local publication, The Chevy Chaser, provided the missing pieces of the puzzle. The bus was bought at an auction for less than $3000 and stored at a towing company until Ed Nighbert agreed to store it at his A-127 storage business in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. There it sits for the moment, although Nighbert says they do have plans to get it back in shape and running again. Today, campus visitors are given a guided walking tour instead of a ride on "Old Blue." We are still unsure of the date of the last "Old Blue" tour, so would welcome comments from anyone who knows.

"Old Blue," 1984. University of Kentucky general prints. 2001ua025.

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