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"The Little Green Truck"

Owned by David Kaufman
Bolter # 11815
Omaha, Nebraska

14 July 2008 Update
# 1672

From David :

          Well, we have been doing a little meandering since last year and we thought you all might enjoy some of these recent pictures. All of these were taken when I brought the truck to Brownville, Nebraska for their annual 4th of July parade [ pix ] . 

          Brownville holds a Freedom Day Celebration every 4th of July, and the parade is part of that celebration.  Brownville was founded in 1854, and many of the structures in Brownville date back to the late 1800's.  It was once a booming river town on the Mighty Missouri. Then the transcontinental railroad took a route that by-passed Brownville. To some extent, the town has stayed "locked in time" ... and we like it!

          So far this year, the truck has been in the American Truck Historical Society's National Show in Hutchinson, Kansas and the Brownville parade.  On July 20th, it will be in the 11th Annual All Chevy Show at H and H Chevrolet here in Omaha. Then on August 2nd, it will be in the 4th Annual Iowa-Nebraska Classic Truck Show in Gretna, Nebraska.

          If you travel just 50 minutes south on I-29, you will soon find yourself more than 150 years back in time. Take the Rockport exit in Missouri, then travel just 10 minutes west back into Nebraska. Cross an immense green steel bridge spanning the mighty Missouri, and discover Brownville, Nebraska, circa 1854.

          We own a little house in Brownville which affords us the opportunity to escape the pace we keep in Omaha.  In addition, I am in the process of assisting the Brownville Historical Society develop a railroad museum in their old Burlington Route Depot and Caboose.

          We first encountered Brownville several years ago when my wife Nicole and I devoted a weekend to re-acquainting ourselves with southeast Nebraska. We had recently returned to Omaha from Madison, Wisconsin where we lived for three years during my residency in pediatrics. While we lived in Madison, we spent many enjoyable weekends doing short travel day trips to towns such as Mt. Horeb, New Glarus and Cambridge. We hoped to be able to do the same once we were back in Nebraska. 

          After spending some time at the Lied Lodge in Nebraska City, we took our bikes out on the Steam Boat Trace Trail and headed south towards Peru and Brownville.  After riding the trail, we stopped in Brownville. We came across a Burlington Route depot and caboose sitting empty. Then we went on to discover the rest of this historic town.

          We walked the Whiskey Run Creek trail through town, crisscrossing the creek as we crossed rustic wooden bridges. At the end of the trail, we came across the Whiskey Run Creek Winery [ pix with the '46 ] and the restored barn that straddles the creek. We stopped for a while, had a glass of wine and enjoyed the waterfall as we sat on the deck overlooking the creek.

          We headed back toward town on Main Street and wandered through the Governor Furnas Arboretum. Starting on Main Street at the School House Gallery and Nature Center, we traveled through the Arboretum and back over the trail and creek to Water Street.  We had to stop and ponder the Tom Palmerton bronze sculpture of Governor Furnas planting a tree.  We headed up the hill on 6th street to visit the Governor Furnas House. After leaving the Furnas House, we made another stop at the Brownville Methodist Church.

          Not yet worn out, we headed back to Main Street to visit the Captain Bailey House Museum and the Carson House.  Across the street from the Carson House (built in 1860), we had lunch at the Lyceum. There were thousands of books on hand to browse through. 

          After lunch, we headed back down Main to visit the unique shops of the Merchants of Brownville -- organic snacks at the Brownville Mills! A walk across Scenic Byway Highway 136 lead us to the Burlington Route Depot and caboose.

          The depot and caboose are being turned into a Railroad History Center. You can peek through the windows and imagine yourself traveling by rail. You’ve just arrived and departed from a steam locomotive. So you grab your trunk of belongings and head down to the river for a paddle wheel ride on the Spirit of Brownville.  During the leisurely cruise on the Mighty Missouri, you travel beneath the immense green bridge again and find yourself back in 2008 (sigh).  Depart the paddle boat and head back to town to take in a show at the Brownville Concert Hall or a stage show at the Brownville Village Theater.

          After the concert or theater performance, you can head up the hill before the sun sets and wander through the Walnut Grove Cemetery, one of Nebraska’s oldest cemeteries.  End your day at Capitol Square Park on a blanket with your favorite bottle of wine from the Winery, and see stars you never knew existed in Omaha skies.

          For more on Brownville, visit their web site ... and come visit!


19 September 2006
# 1672

From David :

           This is for my Dad.

           This is a 1946 Chevrolet 1.5-ton Stakebed [ front image ] truck built in the Kansas City, Kansas plant for the Sinclair Refining Company (Sinclair Oil). The brass plate is inscribed “STAKE BODY S-838 SINCLAIR REFINING CO.” It was painted over in green and was found on the boards supporting the original bed.

           The truck [ passenger side front view ] was used by the owner of a Sinclair Service Station in Lincoln, Nebraska. The truck was then purchased by my father, David L. Kaufman, to use as a delivery truck when he and my Mom, Delores Kaufman, opened Kaufman’s Furniture and Appliances, 2701 N. 48th Street in Lincoln, Nebraska (University Place) in January of 1959. I can still recall my Grandpa, John Fischer, and my Dad rebuilding the stake rack and bed in my Grandpa’s driveway when I was a little boy.

           My Grandpa was a painter in the Lincoln Shops with the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad (C. B. & Q.) and then with the Burlington Northern Railroad. Therefore, when it came time to paint the truck, it was done entirely in Burlington Northern green. It was always referred to as “The Little Green Truck” by my family.

           Delivering furniture and appliances with this truck in the Nebraska winters was always an adventure. My Dad eventually purchased a closed box truck for delivering furniture as their business grew. The Little Green Truck then sat in our back lot for more than a decade. It was last registered on February 3rd of 1986.

           My Dad died in 1998, two weeks after our first child, Elijah, was born. Within a few years, my Mother sold the remaining inventory of the furniture store and sold the property as well. The truck was temporarily moved out to Myron Smith’s place in Milford, Nebraska for storage.

           In the spring of 2003, I had the truck towed to Carl King’s shop, SS Auto Trim, here in Omaha, Nebraska. It then spent the following two years undergoing an extensive off-frame restoration and conversion to a 12-volt system (still no A/C nor radio). This summer I had Omaha Standard of Council Bluffs, Iowa custom fit a wood bed for the truck, rounding the front corners of the bed to match the curve of the original two-part bulkhead. I then built the stake racks, using knotty pine and stainless steel hardware.

           Many thanks to my wife, my Mom, Myron Smith, Carl King, the folks at Chevs of the 40’s, Industrial Plating, Herman Engraving, and Omaha Standard.

           Enjoy the ride, Dad.

David Kaufman


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