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A Brief History of the Peacemaker Bus
In 2005, for the second time we set out to merge two buses into one. Turning a 1955 GMC Scenicruiser and a 1949 General American Aerocoach into a modern day, fully functional motor home at first mention may not sound all that difficult. But if you cut the buses up into many pieces, extend the overall length to 42´6˝ long and 13´6˝ high that puts a little twist on things. Then throw in a Detroit series 60 engine and an automatic transmission from totally different vehicles. That’s enough to turn it into an epic 2 ½-year project. The 1955 Scenicruiser was cut in half horizontally right above the wheels using the chassis as the running part of the bus. The 1949 Aerocoach was mainly used for its shapely old architectural pieces. The split windshields, rounded corners and curved overhead windows are not found in modern style buses. So when you see this bus running down the road, it’s enough to make you turn your head and wonder at the care that obviously went into making it.
The Twelve Tribes communities have had a bus similar to this on the road since 1987. That bus, the original Peacemaker, is made up of a 1961 GMC motor coach and parts from a 1950 Aerocoach. It has been well over 500,000 miles since its conversion in 1987. It is now on its third paint job, third transmission, third engine and countless sets of tires. Even now, we are preparing to bring it back into our “bus barn” for a complete freshening.
When you step foot on the original Peacemaker bus, it is different from anything you have ever seen before. From the aromatic cedar that lines the ceiling and walls, to the warm rich leathers that add a pleasant touch here and there. Many specialty woods such as cherry, ash, black walnut, curly maple, and mahogany make it unique. The inside is much like a wooden sailing vessel, but with a cozy living room feel with high ceilings, long beautifully upholstered benches, and warm, rich, handmade stained glass copper lamps. This bus has been used as a means of transportation for large groups of community members. Over the years, it has also been seen at many concerts and other venues providing free medical care by Peacemaker Medical EMTs.
The Peacemaker II bus carries on the legacy of the original Peacemaker. Already, it has embarked on West Coast & East Coast tours and criss-crossed the country several times. If you see it parked somewhere, please come on board. As the sign says, “Welcome! Please Come In!”
Called to be "Peacemakers"
Back in the mid '80s when the Grateful Dead were still touring, we used to bring our big unique looking bus to many of their shows. There was a show on April 3, 1989 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where we were offering free medical care to the concertgoers. The crowd was rather unfriendly to the police who were doing their best to keep things under control. The tension rose until someone in the crowd threw a beer bottle at one of the officers, splitting his head open. At that point the lieutenant and his riot team arrived. The scene was getting more tense and the lieutenant brought his megaphone over to one of the people from the bus and asked him to talk to the crowds to calm them down. Gladheart spoke up telling everyone to be peacemakers. While he was speaking everyone from the bus came out and started playing music and dancing between the police and the angry crowds. Before we knew it, the crowd was happily clapping to the beat and the chief and all the police stood back in awe. The chief of police said, "Truly, you are peacemakers!" and from that day on the name has never left us.
About the Bus
Our two Peacemaker buses are well known all over the United States as a place of refuge and first-aid care. Painted on the back of the buses is the welcome message: "We know the way, we'll bring you home." We say "bring" not "take", because you take somebody home to their house, but you bring somebody home to your house. We have a home that you can come to and visit — or stay forever. And quite a few of our disciples now living in our communities first met us on the Peacemaker bus.
A personal account by Anak of building the first Peacemaker bus: A Bus Called Peacemaker
And more about our motivation for going out on Dead tour with the bus: After All These Years
New: The publication chronicling our motivation and the building of the Peacemaker bus: A Bus Called Peacemaker II
We still bring our buses to many events hoping to help others and find more people who desire to bring peace to this dying world. Today we have two buses and also a tall ship bearing the name Peacemaker. Recently, the Peacemaker bus had followed the Bob Dylan tour around North America. This summer (2013), the Peacemaker II bus will be accompanying (on land) the Peacemaker ship around the Great Lakes. See them both together at all the ports along the way!