Cheyenne in Laramie County, Wyoming — The American West (Mountains)
The First Transcontinental Airmail Route*
General William "Billy" Mitchell, a staunch advocate of aviation, put together a U.S. Air Service transcontinental air race in October 1919. Although a number of aviators had flown across the United States since Cal Rodgers first accomplished the feat in 1911, there was no organized route and landing
Although at first the routes were short (e.g. New York to Washington) the Post Office envisioned a transcontinental airmail route from New York to San Francisco to better its time on long hauls and to lure more people to use airmail. The first leg of the transcontinental route was from New York to Cleveland in 1918; the Cleveland to Chicago leg was established in 1919; Chicago to Omaha in 1920; and the last segment from Omaha to San Francisco was opened on September 8, 1920. This last leg included stops in North Platte, Cheyenne, Rock Springs, Salt Lake City, Elko and Reno.
In May 1920, Post Office superintendent of airfield construction John A. Jordan arrived in Cheyenne to begin planning for an airmail station. He believed Cheyenne to be perfectly suited as a major division point along the transcontinental airmail route due to the fact that it was almost exactly in the middle of the direct flight route between Chicago and San Francisco, the city lay at the foot of the lowest crossing point of the treacherous Rocky Mountains,
Initial plans called for the first airport at Cheyenne to be co-located at the landing field for Fort D.A. Russell; however, the city along with Laramie County secured the current airport site and started construction of a hangar to hold up to six mail planes. On September 8, 1920, the U.S. Air Mail Service began operations in Cheyenne when pilot Buck Heffron left town with 400 pounds of mail destined for the West Coast. The next day, James "Jimmy" Murray landed with the first load of mail from the east. Murray returned with the first east bound mail on September 13, thus helping complete the inaugural circuit of the first transcontinental air service in history.
The first mail was flown by day and loaded onto trains for night travel, then reloaded and flown the next day. This method bettered the all rail service by 22 hours. By August 1920, the Post Office had begun installing radio stations at each flying field. Radios replaced the telegraph. By November 1921, the mail was flown both day and night for the first time. Congress was impressed and appropriated $1.25 million dollars for expansion of the airmail service. In addition to adding
The first commercial airline air mail flight occurred in February 1926, and soon after the Post Office transferred all of its facilities to the Department of Commerce. The transfer included 17 fully-equipped stations, 89 emergency landing fields, and 405 beacons. Terminal airports were transferred to the municipalities in which they were located.
* Information from a history of the U.S. Postal Service.
Erected by City of Cheyenne, Cheyenne Historic Historic Preservation Board, Cheyenne Area Convention and Visitors Board, Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund and Preserve America.
Location. 41° 9.159′ N, 104° 49.136′ W. Marker is in Cheyenne, Wyoming, in Laramie County. Marker is on Evans Avenue near East 7th Street, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 4101 Evans Avenue, Cheyenne WY 82001, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Aviation in Cheyenne (1920-1930s) (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Aviation in Cheyenne (1930-1950s) Early Cheyenne Reservoir (approx. 0.7 miles away); Union Pacific Steam Engine #1242 (approx. 0.8 miles away); Floyd and Edna Young Folk Art Fence (approx. 0.8 miles away); The Trails (Part I) (approx. 0.8 miles away); Cheyenne Frontier Days™ (Part I) (approx. 0.8 miles away); Cheyenne Frontier Days™ (Part II) (approx. 0.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cheyenne.
Also see . . .
1. The "Highway of Light" That Guided Early Planes Across America - Paleofuture. ...enormous (concrete) arrows pointing west...Because at the dawn of aviation, they were part of America's highway of light — a high-tech system of lighthouses showing pilots how to get from New York City all the way to San Francisco. (Submitted on June 27, 2016, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.)
2. Airmails of the United States - Wikipedia. After an intermittent series of government sponsored experimental flights between 1911 and 1918, domestic U.S. Air Mail was formally established as a new class of service by the United States Post Office Department on May 15, 1918, with the inauguration of the Washington-Philadelphia-New York route for which the first of special Air Mail stamps were issued. (Submitted on June 27, 2016, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.)
Categories. • Air & Space • Communications •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 27, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 27, 2016, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 206 times since then and 52 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on June 27, 2016, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.