A small town built on an abandoned airfield has former runways as streets and a bar and grill in an old airplane hangar.
If the layout of the town of Bar Nunn, Wyoming seems a little angular, it’s because the streets used to be the runways of an airfield.
Casper Municipal Airfield was officially named Wardwell Field after aviation pioneer Major Doyen P. Wardwell in 1930, after he died in a plane crash nearby. It was the site of Natrona County’s official airport until 1952, when the airport was relocated to the former Casper Army Air Base on U.S. Highway 20-26.
A few years later, in 1954, neighboring rancher Romie Nunn, who already owned a portion of the former Wardwell Field property, bought the former airport with the hopes of making it “the horse center of the Rockies.” He paid $20,500 for it.
Nunn decided to start subdividing the land, and the Bar Nunn Ranch Subdivision was born in 1958. Former runways were used as streets, and homes were laid out along them. In the 1970s, as the population continued to grow, the subdivision homeowners’ association voted to incorporate as a municipality to improve the snow removal and street repair situation. In 1982, the subdivision officially became the Town of Bar Nunn, and the population went on to triple in size.
The runways are not the only parts of the town reminiscent of its airfield days. A large airplane hangar has had a couple of lives over the course of the evolution of Bar Nunn. In 1990, Wayne L. Bundy bought the hangar to keep it from being torn down and moved his boat business, Bundy’s Marine, into it. In 2016, the old hangar was repurposed again as The Hangar, a bar and grill. One of its decorations is a small, blue airplane.
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