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This month, my Friday Road Trip became a Weekend Getaway, at a unique destination 1.4 miles from my home in Joplin.
My sisters joined me for an overnight at the Bonnie and Clyde Hideout.
And here’s how this interesting weekend came about. Wanting to include local sites of interest on my blog, I checked online to find the owner of this historical building in my city. Intending to gain permission to take photos in the Bonnie and Clyde Hideout, I instead discovered the apartment over the garage is an Airbnb available to rent.
My intention to take photos for a story turned into a fun overnight experience.
The Barrow Gang Comes to Joplin
The Joplin connection is a vital one, in the saga of Bonnie and Clyde.
This infamous couple, Bonnie Elizabeth Parker and Clyde Chestnut Barrow, traveled the lower Midwest between 1931 and 1934. The pair’s life of crime began with robberies of small stores and gas stations and escalated to bank heists and murder.
Clyde’s brother Buck and his wife Blanche and the youth WD Jones completed the Barrow Gang. During their years of crime, they killed nine police officers and four civilians.
On April 1, 1933, the gang rented an over the garage apartment in Joplin, Missouri. Located in a quiet, affluent neighborhood, the upstairs apartment’s many windows provided vantage points to watch for the approach of law enforcement.
For 13 days the group hid in the apartment while committing a series of robberies in Missouri and neighboring states. They slept late into the day, partied heartily at night and cleaned weapons in the garage. A variety of stolen cars appeared and disappeared from the property. Their unusual activities drew suspicion from the neighbors.
On April 13, 1933, police arrived, expecting to find bootleggers. Instead, a furious shootout occurred. Joplin police detective Harry McGinnis and Newton County Constable John Wesley Harryman lost their lives. McGinnis died from his wounds in a nearby hospital while Harryman died instantly, his body falling into the garage.
The Importance of the Joplin Hideout
Bonnie and Clyde, Buck and Blanche and WD escaped, however they left all of their belongings behind. Police discovered a camera and undeveloped rolls of film. The circulated photos from those canisters allowed law enforcement across the lower US to see what the outlaws looked like. The brutality of the shooting in Joplin helped to change the public’s opinion about the gang.
Buck Barrow died as a result of gunshot wounds from a raid at Platte City, Missouri on July 29, 1933.
Blanche Barrow eventually served six years in prison for assault. After her release she remarried and lived quietly for the rest of her life. She died December 24, 1989.
WD Jones, who was only 16 when he joined with Bonnie and Clyde, received a 15 year sentence. He was paroled after six years. WD died August 20, 1974 from gunshot wounds, after an altercation.
And Bonnie and Clyde’s crime spree came to an end on May 23, 1934 on a rural road in Louisiana. A posse of Texas rangers and Louisiana officers set up an ambush, firing more than 100 rounds into the car carrying the duo.
Spending the Night at the Bonnie and Clyde Hideout
I reserved the apartment through Airbnb. My sisters and I, along with our mother, arrived at 3:00 pm sharp. We checked ourselves in through the access keypad on the door.
The apartment, which is registered as a historic site, contains a living room, full kitchen with a dining area, two bedrooms and a bathroom. One of the bedrooms is set up as a parlor without a bed.
Saundra, the owner and host, offers charming and meticulously clean accommodations with an authentic 1930s feel. The rooms contain photos, newspaper articles and books detailing the lives of the Barrow Gang. And guests can watch the 1967 film, Bonnie and Clyde, starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, on the television hidden in a cabinet in the living room.
Join me on a photo tour of this unique apartment.
Bonnie and Clyde Hideout Kitchen
I love Airbnbs with kitchens. We toted in groceries for our evening meal, snacks and breakfast the next morning. The kitchen in the Bonnie and Clyde apartment offers a full sized electric range, a small refrigerator with freezer and an assortment of cooking pots, dinnerware and utensils.
A small dining table and two chairs provide a spot for meals.
With its windows and cozy decor, the kitchen became my favorite space in the dwelling. I enjoyed preparing aloo matar for dinner and fruit bowls for breakfast. A black tea kettle inspired me to prepare cups of peppermint tea.
Bonnie and Clyde Hideout Living Room
The living room, with its original wood floors and wall of windows, provides the perfect place to gather. The four chairs offer ample seating. We enjoyed thumbing through the books about Bonnie and Clyde.
Because Mom and my daughter Elissa joined us for dinner, we used this space for eating as well as lively discussions and watching the Bonnie and Clyde film together later.
Tucked into a corner is a large cupboard where the gang stashed their guns. There’s a bullet hole within it, from the spray of bullets that came through a window.
I also enjoyed looking through the guests books in this room, where visitors record their appreciation for this apartment.
The bathroom off of the short hallway still contains its original bathtub. However the rest of the bathroom is updated for convenience.
I love the black and white theme and the clean, bright space.
Saundra provides soaps and towels for her guests.
Bonnie and Clyde Hideout Bedrooms
The original floor plan of the apartment shows two bedrooms, one at either end of a short hallway.
Although Saundra set up one room as a parlor, it’s easy to determine which bedrooms members of the Barrow Gang utilized.
The front bedroom, overlooking the street, is currently the parlor. Blanche and Buck Barrow slept in this room.
Bonnie and Clyde used the back bedroom. I read that WD Jones actually slept with the couple most of the time although in this apartment it’s possible he also claimed the living room as his space.
For our overnight, my sisters slept in Bonnie and Clyde’s room while I slept on an air mattress that I brought along, in the front bedroom.
Our Overnight at the Bonnie and Clyde Hideout
We loved our overnight in this lovely apartment.
The neighborhood is indeed quiet and the windows in the upstairs apartment let in plenty of sunlight. After settling in, we savored our evening meal and snacks and chatted until early in the morning.
I enjoyed preparing tea for me and one of my sisters. And imagine the surreal experience of watching a movie about these notorious outlaws while actually sitting in the space they lived in for a short time.
With my sensitivity to energy, it was not hard to sense Bonnie, Clyde, Blanche, Buck and WD moving silently about the hideout. And while many romanticized this couple during the height of their crime spree, Bonnie and Clyde lived a life outside of the law. The consequences of their actions and lifestyle resulted in pain and death for innocent people. And yet, I recognize their humanity too and I’m willing to learn from their stories.
When I first arrived at the apartment, I felt some of that residual pain empathically. After all, two men died during the shoot out. Because of that lingering energy, I honestly didn’t know if I could sleep in Blanche and Buck’s room. However, by bedtime I’d made peace with the energy there, which mellowed out during the evening.
We slept well in the Bonnie and Clyde hideout, my sisters and I.
Awaking early, with sunlight streaming in through the windows, I curled up on the chaise lounge in the parlor and read in Blanche’s book. Taken from her diary, the book provides an intimate glimpse into life with the famous outlaws. Gratefully, I’m picking up the book at the Joplin Public Library tomorrow, to finish reading it.
Visit the Bonnie and Clyde Hideout
I highly recommend this Airbnb! Saundra is a super host, providing a unique experience for her guests. My sisters and I would definitely stay here again.
The apartment is located at 3347 1/2 Oak Ridge Drive, in Joplin, although the building actually faces 34th Street. There is a historic landmark sign in the yard.
If you appreciate unusual buildings, enjoy history or want to experience a space where famous outlaws once resided, book this outstanding Airbnb using this link. New to Airbnb? Save up to $65 off of your first stay with this link!
When you visit, soak in the history and the stories within those walls…and tell the Barrow Gang I said hello.
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