Amelia Earhart had love for Wyoming - KULR8.com | Montana's News Leader | Billings, MT

Amelia Earhart had love for Wyoming

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CODY, Wyo. -

The world’s most famous female aviator is back in the news, and one of her treasured possessions is now on display in Cody. Several searchers recently claimed to find evidence of Amelia Earhart and her airplane. She left her flight jacket on a Meeteetse dude ranch before she disappeared.

Most people don’t think of Amelia Earhart in the mountains of Northwest Wyoming.  But, she spent time there, on the Double D guest ranch, near Meeteetse.

James Dunrud said, “Yeah, she really liked the country.”

James Dunrud was only two years old when his father, Carl Dunrud, hosted Amelia and her husband on the Double D in 1934.  She loved the rugged mountains.

Dunrud explained, “Dad was building a cabin for her up above Kirwin there on an open claim and she planned to come back here and spend time just being away from people.”

But, the dream died, when Earhart’s plane disappeared over the Pacific in 1937, when she was attempting a flight around the world. She had left a flight jacket with Dunrud, that was part of history, too.

Buffalo Bill Museum Curator  Jeremy Johnston explained, “Carl claimed this jacket was worn by Amelia Earhart on her first Trans-Atlantic flight.”

The Dunrud family donated the jacket to the Buffalo Bill Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.  Curator Jeremy Johnston is trying to establish whether Dunrud’s story is true.

He said, “But it is definitely Amelia Earhart’s jacket. We found a photo of her in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum archives wearing the coat.”

Since the late sixties, the coat has been kept mostly out of sight in the museum collection.

He said, “Amelia Earhart’s coat, believe it or not, has only been on display once in the Buffalo Bill Center of the West…It was put on display for a special exhibit, so this is the first time it’s been put on permanent display in the Buffalo Bill Museum.”

Earhart’s coat is one of three new items on display here. Another belonged to the West’s most famous cowboy from New York City.

He said, “You’ll see his initials on the seat there.” The initials are T. R., for Theodore Roosevelt.

He owned a ranch in South Dakota, but he hunted his first grizzly in Wyoming.

He explained, “So one of his first grizzly bear trips was in the Big Horn Mountains. Really quite an adventure. He left his ranch in the Dakota badlands, traveled into Northeast Wyoming in to the Big Horns and killed a grizzly bear.”

Johnston said both items have a connection to Buffalo Bill.  Both items are on permanent display now. The Buffalo Bill Museum is one of five museums at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody. 

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