Le Grand, California: Chowchilla Kidnapping Bus

The July 15, 1976 mass abduction inspired by the climax in 1971's "Dirty Harry" involved this yellow school bus. Part of a dusty farm equipment and vehicle collection at Bright's Pioneer Exhibit. The 26 children and the bus driver, who escaped by digging out of a container buried in a quarry, signed the side of the bus.

Brights Nursery

Address:
5248 Plainsburg Rd, Le Grand, CA
Directions:
Brights Nursery. CA-99/Golden State Hwy exit 176. Turn east onto Plainsboro Rd. Drive two miles. Turn right at the Bright's Nursery sign. Drive past the gate. You'll see a large gray building on the left, with old rusty farm equipment leaning against the outside wall. Look for the "Museum Free Entrance" sign next to the door. The school bus is inside.
Hours:
Gated after business hours. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Phone:
209-389-4511
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Brights Pioneer Museum

This museum has a huge collection of old cars, tractors, steam engines, and bulldozers. There's a lot to see inside and outside as well. A must for vintage equipment and car lovers!

[Curt Von soosten, 01/22/2022]

The most newsworthy vehicle in the collection is the Chowchilla Kidnapping school bus, a crime perhaps inspired by the 1971 film Dirty Harry (or a 1969 abduction story in Alfred Hitchcock's Daring Detectives magazine). The side of the bus is signed by the driver and 26 kids, who all successfully escaped.


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In the region:
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