Trails of Wyoming Part 1

21 Nov

The Transcontinental Airmail route stretched from New York to San Francisco. . It was started in 1924 and was run by the post office until 1926. It closely followed the modern route of I-80 through Wyoming.arrow

Stops in Wyoming

In Wyoming the route had three stops, Cheyenne, Rawlins and Rock Springs. On the website airmailpioneers.org one can read the original instructions given to the pilots as to which route to take and where emergency landings can be done safely. Most of these instructions reference the Union Pacific Railroad with very few compass headings.

Beacons

To assist the pilots before radar and radio navigation were invented beacons were constructed along the route at 10 mile intervals. According the the BLM History Mystery Examiner these beacons were placed on arrow-shaped foundations that pointed the way to the next beacon for daytime flying and had two bright lights for nighttime navigation. The structures were painted with bright colors to improve visibility.

Remnants

The majority of the steel towers for the beacon’s lights were torn down during the time of the Second World War for scrap metal. Advances in navigation soon rendered the beacons obsolete and they were not rebuilt. However to this day one can find concrete arrows out in the middle of nowhere and there are two close to Cheyenne. The first arrow is located on top of Pilot Hill in Medicine Bow National Forest. The second is ten miles farther east on private property.

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