The term "hobo" appeared near the end of the nineteenth century and was applied to itinerant workers in the western states. The term is often used interchangeably with "tramp" and "bum". However, hobos will tell you there is a difference. A hobo travels to work, a tramp travels but doesn't work, and a bum neither travels nor works. That definition means Marilee and I are tramps.
If you are interested in the hobo way of life, here is the place to start. The Hobo Museum is located in Britt, Iowa. It is currently in an old movie theatre but money is being collected to build a new museum. It is open only during the summer.
|This is what a hobo camp might look like. There is a similar camp and an old boxcar in the Hobo Jungle Park in Britt on the south side of the old SOO Line railroad.|
One of the museum displays is this old jacket worn by a well-known hobo whose name I forget.
|Hobos had a sign language used to warn or inform other hobos about the local situation.|
Here are costumes for the Hobo King and Queen of the annual Hobo Convention. The convention is held in Britt during the second week in August and has been since 1900. I haven't been to a convention yet but I think it would be worth the trip.
If anyone ever tells you that there is nothing in Iowa worth seeing, tell them about the Hobo Museum and Convention.