SALEM, Ohio — A historic tourism relic is returning to its home in Montana, as a 1935 Yellowstone Park bus makes its way back west. Charlie and Kathleen Presley, founders of The Group Travel Family of Brands, purchased and refurbished the Yellowstone Park bus 21 years ago. It has resided in Ohio for the past two decades and been a staple of parades, Little League ballgames and even a few weddings.
Now, the bus will return to providing sightseeing pleasure to guests at a Montana resort. The public will again enjoy the open-air view provided by the 20-foot roll-back canvas roof.
The Presleys fell in love with the “Yellow Beast” on their first trip to a national park out west and spent seven years tracking one down.
“It was such a tourism statement that we knew it belonged in the Presley family,” said Charlie Presley. At 32 feet long, the 16-passenger convertible vehicle presented a few challenges. And approaching 90 years old, it proved cranky at times.
It is estimated that in its park service days, the bus provided sightseeing tours and train depot transportation to almost 1 million tourists. The bus was used by Yellowstone National Park between 1935 and 1970, when it was retired. An estimated 40 Yellowstone buses are still accounted for, with most in private hands.
The bus will now enter its third phase of life. First, it was a national park bus; second, it was a local Ohio celebrity; and now, it is returning west as a sightseeing attraction.
“We are so pleased that it will again see action in the sightseeing field and that the public can experience a part of tourism history,” Presley said.