Amelia Earhart’s Plan to Settle Down in Wyoming That Never Came to Be
If not for her untimely disappearance in 1937, the most famous female aviator in history might have become a resident of the cowboy state. A half-completed log cabin near Meeteetse stood as the remnant as her plans to get away from it all in the wilds of Wyoming.
Amelia Mary Earhart first showed up on Wyoming radars in 1931, when she flew across the country in a plane dubbed “The Flying Windmill,” stopping in many Southern Wyoming towns along the way, including Cheyenne, Laramie, Rock Springs, and Le Roy. The Laramie Republican-Boomerang’s front-page story in 1931 described Earhart as “a petite tousle-haired sky goddess in a weird windmill ship” upon her first stop in Laramie and her greeting of the spectators who had gathered. The stop in Laramie only lasted 20-minutes, and she was off again.
Earhart was in Wyoming again in 1934, when she and her husband George Putnam planned a trip to visit the Double Dee Ranch, just outside of Meeteetse. Located near the Wood River, miles from town, secluded and peaceful, the scenic mountainous location seemed like the perfect place to get away from it all and Earhart asked the ranch proprietor and her close friend, Carl Dunrud, to build her a cabin on the spot. Dunrud cut logs and laid the start of her new summer home in 1936. A full story about her adventures at the Double Dee Ranch can be found here.
A year later, Earhart’s plane would disappear over the Pacific Ocean as she attempted her around-the-world flight. While the mystery of her disappearance has continued to this day, a researcher at the University of Tennessee released a statement last year that bones found on an island in a remote part of the South Pacific showed a 99% similarity match to Earhart’s after in-depth analysis. Anthropology professor Richard Jantz said of the re-analysis: “until definitive evidence is presented that the remains are not those of Amelia Earhart, the most convincing argument is that they are hers."
Though she may have ended up lost in the South Pacific, her new homestead back in Wyoming ceased construction. In the 1970’s, it began to deteriorate past the ability to restore it. The Dunrud family had a marker put up in Meeteetse to remember her by; now the only evidence of Amelia Earhart’s plans for a home in Wyoming to call her own.