Transcontinental Air Mail Route Beacon – Dubois, Idaho - Atlas Obscura

Transcontinental Air Mail Route Beacon

Dubois, Idaho

This giant tower beacon was a key navigation tool for pilots delivering mail amid the night skies.  

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Originally, planes navigated transcontinental flights through large, concrete ground markers. However, they were impossible to see at night. This forced most planes to remain grounded during the evening hours, making cross-country mail deliveries particularly lengthy.

To solve this problem, the United States Postal Service developed a series of beacon towers that stretched from New York to San Francisco. These towers were seen as the solution to a pilot’s inability to navigate the night skies.

Today, many of these beacons and towers are shuttered, or no longer standing. However, in the small city of Dubois one such tower and beacon still remains. The tower is not far from Idaho Falls and still has its original power shack. Next to the tower is more than 4,000 feet of runway, where visitors can take pictures and view the tower. Advocates are working on transforming the power shack into an interpretive center. The tower has also been deemed a historic landmark. 

Know Before You Go

About 25 minutes north of Idaho Falls. 

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