Upcoming Events

Mike Kassel presents "Wyoming's Friendly Skies"


Mike Kassel

Rockpile Museum is pleased to welcome author Mike Kassel for a presentation on his book “Wyoming’s Friendly Skies” on Tuesday, May 24th at 7:00 p.m.  This event will be FREE and open to all who are interested. 

In 1930, the airline industry was brand new and literally getting off the ground.  People had seen airplanes and weren’t sure if they would be a good mode of transportation.  This was in spite of the terrific advances in technology making planes faster, safer and more comfortable than ever before.  The problem was people had grown up between the wars seeing the exploits of barnstormers, wing walkers, mail pilots and the occasional hero like Charles Lindbergh do amazing exploits by air.  The air was for daredevils, not for your average Joe.  It wasn’t the place for your average Josephine either.

The young Boeing Air Transport had tried to change people’s minds with the advent of the beautiful new B-80 airliner.  Safe with three engines and filled with luxuries, the company called the plane “The Flying Pullman.”  Still the public wasn’t convinced.  

In a stroke of good fortune and fortitude Ellen Church, a young graduate nurse, walked into the office of BAT ticket agent Joseph Stimson.  She wanted to fly but there were no jobs for women.  Stimson struck on a remarkable idea.  If this young woman wanted to fly, and she was given the job to do so, she would help prove that flying was safe.  But what job?  He sent a letter to his superiors in Cheyenne, Wyoming and told them he had a perfect candidate for a brand-new position.  This new job would be to see to the passengers’ safety, comfort, and improve the public image of flying.  BAT officials agreed and the job of the stewardess was born.

Cheyenne was the launching point of this, the first opportunity for women to work in aviation.  It was an experiment that proved to be a smashing success.  Launched in our capital city, the stewardesses would return in 1947 when United Air Lines, the progeny of BAT, decided it wanted to keep facilities in Cheyenne once it moved to San Francisco.  What was launched was a remarkable school that would train thousands of young women to be stewardesses at the beginning of the golden age of air travel.  These women helped transform an industry and did the same for the city of Cheyenne along the way.  Join Mike Kassel as he explores this fascinating tale of our friendly skies.

Copies of Wyoming’s Friendly Skies will be available for sale before and after the event.  The Rockpile Museum Book Store also has copies of Wyoming Airmail Pioneers

Please visit the Museum’s website at www.rockpilemuseum.com or call 307-682-5723 for more information. 

About Mike Kassel:

Michael Kassel serves as curator of collections and is assistant director of the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum.  He is an adjunct professor of history at Laramie County Community College. He is the co-author of three books: Wyoming Airmail Pioneers, Wyoming’s Friendly Skies, and A History Lover’s Guide to Cheyenne. 

Wyoming's Friendly Skies

Old Ironsides Steam and Shine Tractor Show


Join the Rockpile Museum on the third Saturday in July for our first ever Old Ironsides Steam and Shine Tractor Show.  Do you have an old steam tractor, steel mule, portable sawmill/engine, scotch cart, agitator, or thresher that you would love an opportunity to showcase it to the public? If so, you are in luck!  The Campbell County Rockpile Museum is looking for exhibitors to showcase your historic or vintage farm equipment with us at our Old Ironsides Steam and Shine Tractor Show, happening Saturday, July 16, 2022 here in Gillette, Wyoming.

Register HERE.  

Old Ironsides Steam and Shine Tractor Show