#Lookback: Dubois Airport

A County 10 series in partnership with the Fremont County Museum System
where we take a #Lookback at the stories and history of our community and
presented by Mick Pryor, Financial Advisor with Edward Jones.

Alicia Patterson, the former publisher of the Newsday in Garden City, Long Island, described her flight from Denver to Dubois in the late 1930s as “one of the most precarious adventures” of her life. Since the airstrip on Table Mountain was not that long, it is no wonder that flying into the first Dubois Airport was exciting but also possibly dangerous.

The first airport was a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project and when completed included the runway, a hangar, and a large outhouse. Charlie Moore was the airport’s foreman. Even though air traffic at the time was minimal, it became apparent that Table Mountain was not the ideal location. So, in 1949 the next airport was constructed on BLM land just north of Dubois on land where the Chariot Races would occur in future years. It also proved to have a short runway, but it was satisfactory. One story about the airport occurred when Bill Meckem took his girlfriend Leslie Shoemaker up for an evening ride on his plane. While he was preparing to land, Bill’s father became concerned and called the town to drive up to the airport and leave their headlights on so Bill could see where to land. Embarrassment ensued, and the next morning while he was pumping gas, a tourist looked up at the sky and asked him, “Say, did they get that darned fool in last light?”

Slowly but surely Dubois residents and businessmen realize the benefits of having an airport suitable for larger planes. A new airport, with a 4,000-foot-long runway, was constructed at a cost of $71,500 in 1966. At an elevation of 7297.9 feet, it was one of, if not the highest, airport in the state of Wyoming. Planes would often land in Dubois when weather prevented them from landing in Jackson or West Yellowstone. The Dubois Airport has since undergone many updates and modifications, but one thing is for sure: the passengers on today’s planes have a much more enjoyable landing than Alicia Patterson did!

Next up for the Fremont County Museum

November 5th, 9-5 pm at the Dubois Museum, Pioneer Museum & Riverton Museum

“First Fridays” State Farm Riverton –State Farm Lander

December 3rd, 9-5 pm at the Dubois Museum, Pioneer Museum & Riverton Museum

“First Fridays” State Farm Riverton –State Farm Lander

December 4th, 11-4 pm at the Dubois Museum, “Christmas Open House”

December 11th, 1-4 pm at the Riverton Museum, “Christmas Open House”

December 11th, 2-4 pm at the Riverton Museum, “Historic Toy Building”

Bailey Tire/Pit Stop Children’s Exploration Series

December 17th, 6:30 pm at the Dubois Museum, “Christmas Caroling at the Museum”

Bailey Tire/Pit Stop Children’s Exploration Series

December 18th, 5-7 pm at the Pioneer Museum,“Old Fashioned Christmas Open House”

Bailey Tire/Pit Stop Children’s Exploration Series

Thru December 30, 9-5 pm at the Pioneer Museum, “The Arapaho Way” By Sara Wiles

Photography on exhibit in the Western Gallery through December

November thru October 2022, 9-5 at the Pioneer Museum, “Hurrah for the Cowboy: Men of the Open range”

Western Art Exhibition

The Dubois Museum, the Pioneer Museum in Lander, and the Riverton Museum have a 501(c)3 whose sole purpose is to help create the long-term financial stability our museums need to continue to grow and thrive. The Wind River Cultural Centers Foundation is your vehicle to support the museum of your choice with a tax-free contribution. Your financial support can be mailed to Wind River Cultural Centers Foundation, PO Box 1863, Lander, WY 82520.