City bus service, something that had been attempted here before, came back to Wabash in July 1938 when the City Council granted Leppert Bus Lines a franchise to operate throughout town.
There were earlier efforts to establish bus service here, but none was successful. W.H. Talbert tried for several months earlier in the Great Depression to run bus service between the South Side and the downtown area, but he gave up when the city refused to subsidize the little company.
The Leppert Company came to town with a record of running successful bus companies in three or four other small cities in Indiana. The firm gradually expanded service, and by the 1940s had four routes here, all originating at the intersection of Wabash and Market Streets. One route went out Manchester Avenue to what is now Ford Meter Box. Another ran through the South Side and another looped around the General Tire plant near Bond and Grand Streets. The fourth route was up Wabash Street to what was then known as the Ross Heights area.
The Leppert Company enjoyed profitable times during World War II when gas rationing limited the use of automobiles, but after the war, when car ownership expanded, it struggled to stay in business. As I recall, the company sold out to local interests in the late 1940s, and by about 1953 that firm was gone.
At one time, the bus company used the old Catholic Church as a garage. That brick building still stands on the south side of the 400 block of West Maple.