Thursday, September 27, 2012

Tarleton Thursdays: Did You Know?

A New Bus
and MORE !

Seventy five years ago – the fall of 1937 – students living at the college farm were welcomed to Tarleton with a brand new bus to ride to and from campus!  It was built in the Tarleton shop under the direction of E.A. Blanchard, Associate Professor of Automobile Engineering!  The $25 motor was from a Chevrolet truck.  It took only 3 weeks to build the bus, which was closed in with glass and streamlined, enabling the boys to travel in the coldest weather!  The bus left the farm at 6:30 am in order to get to the dining hall for breakfast, returned to the farm at 1pm, and went back to the dining hall at 5:30 for dinner.  Not only did Doc Blanchard oversee building the bus, he invented a bottle washer for the diary at the college farm that same year!  The bottle washer enabled the diary to wash more than 1800 bottles a day, some 300 more than before, resulting in more milk going to the dining hall!

E.A. “Doc” Blanchard, shown above in 1930 and 1962, was a Tarleton icon – he fought in both World Wars, came to Tarleton in 1926, retired in 1962, has a street on campus named for him, always kept a Tarleton post office box , and lived to be 100!   One of his hobbies was building vintage cars.  He restored and gave to the university the red 1911 Ford Model T Fire Chief car that many have seen in the TSC.  Doc and Nellene could always be seen in the local parades in one of his vintage automobiles, or at their home on Lillian, across the street from the TSC, working on them!   He was also a licensed instructor of meteorology and civil air commerce.   He was instrumental in organizing the flight training program at Tarleton, which trained 126 pilots during World War II.  Born in Fredericksburg and of German descent, Doc Blanchard also wrote a manual for training intelligence officers on how to interrogate German prisoners and edited Army Motors Magazine.  As childhood friends, he also played with Chester Nimitz behind the bar of the Nimitz Hotel in Fredericksburg!

On perhaps a lighter note, Doc Blanchard was responsible for recovering and restoring to its original glory our cannon!  Students from rival NTAC stole the cannon in November 1928 during the football game week.  Because it was so cumbersome to haul all the way back to Arlington, the NTAC students dumped the cannon in the Bosque River!  Doc Blanchard and the Tarleton maintenance foreman, Ed Emmett, pulled it from the river with a tractor and returned it to campus where Doc restored it.

Doc Blanchard was born January 13, 1897 in Fredericksburg, Texas.  He was an avid supporter of Tarleton most of his life!  He died September 1, 1997 at the age of 100!

Grassburr, 1930, 1962.
JTAC September 28, 1937, May 1, 1962, September 4, 1997.
Guthrie, Christopher E.  John Tarleton and his Legacy.

1 comment:

Cathy W. said...

Doc Blanchard was also very much respected and cherished by his former students.

My dad, Bill Flint, was one of Doc's students after my dad came to Tarleton on the G.I. Bill following his service in the Korean War.

Throughout his life and until Doc's death, my dad often traveled to Stephenville to visit Doc, swap engineering stories and experiences, and learn even more from his beloved teacher, Dr. Blanchard.

Thank you for posting this informative entry about a truly gifted teacher and wonderful man.