Novelty Carriage Works - 1889-1983 - Spokane, Washington
|History of Novelty Carriage
Works, Spokane, Wa. Circa 1889-1983.
By John Eickhof
Founded just after the great fire of 1889, Myron Kulp (also known as ‘Novelty Jack’) established the Novelty Carriage Works at 713 Front Ave. in Spokane, Washington. Novelty (NCW) turned out many products including wagons, carriages, hacks, (Cabs) van, and delivery rigs. NCW became famous for quality and durability of it’s products (Stockman’s News, 1900). Myron was succeeded in his business by his son Roy M. Kulp in 1929. He returned to operate the company in 1943 following his son’s death presumably in WWII. Mr. Kulp had about a dozen men in employ, and sometimes upwards of twenty-five. “He manufactures vehicles of every description from the ordinary wagon to the finest carriage, and he uses the Kelly-Springfield rubber tires” (Western Progress Magazine, 1902). The company converted to school bus production in the late 1940s and fitted their school bus bodies to various manufactured chassis / drive trains including Dodge trucks, according to various advertisements.
The 1950 Dodge Power Wagon I have with a Novelty body is presumed to be a one of a kind, and was apparently made under a contract between Novelty and the Fairchild A.F.B. near Spokane. The researcher from the Spokane public library identified the photo I provided and reflected that it resembled a bus she used to see around Fairchild AFB in the late 1950s. The company was moved to E6615 Main in the 1960s. Myron Kulp passed away Oct. 24th, 1961 at the age of 95 (Spokane Chronicle, Oct. 25, 1961). The NCW was continued in operation by his right hand man Robert E. Halstead as vice president, and his wife Pearl L. Halstead as president. They continued operation as school bus manufacturers and fitters until 1983. The Novelty Carriage Works was one of Spokane’s longest running businesses.
I will be continuing to research this company. Any help will be greatly appreciated.
John Eickhof, firstname.lastname@example.org
Novelty built a school bus body for the US Airforce built on a on a 1950 Dodge Power Wagon chassis that's currently owned by Eickof.http://www.dodgepowerwagon.com/sprouse/novelty.htm
Built buses using stretched (to 157")Chevrolet Suburbans. A 1951 version is known to exist.
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