Rosie the Riveter is a cultural icon from World War II renown for her “yes we can” attitude and motivational impact on getting women involved in an economy that was swiftly declining due to the vast population of men who were being drafted and sent overseas to serve in the war.
During the six year war (1939-45), the Selective Service conducted six draft registrations related to WWII. According to the West Virginia Encyclopedia, W.Va. reported the fifth-highest percentage of servicemen during the war, with 218,665 West Virginians, including 66,716 volunteers, serving in the armed forces.To make up for the loss of essentially half of the population, many women (wives, daughters, mothers, etc.) followed Rosie’s footsteps and took over those roles.
In the early 1940s, estimated to be the summer of ‘42, West Virginia began its first large scale experiment in the hiring of women school bus operators. Logan County itself employed at least 12 women to drive the busses. It was such a big deal that the ladies made the front page of the Logan Banner.
The caption read: “Like other members of their sex holding odd jobs in this war, these Logan county women serve as school bus drivers. All but two have children, who ride to classes along with their playmates with mother at the ‘wheel’.”