America’s sweetheart outlaw couple, Bonnie & Clyde, once spent time hiding out in this apartment in Joplin, Missouri.
Tucked on a quiet street in the mid-western town, is this unassuming 2-story stone apartment house.
The 1928 building still stands to this day – almost entirely intact from the time Bonnie & Clyde were there.
In early April 1933, Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker rented out the upper level apartment of the house on Oak Ridge Drive.
They chose this location due to the 360 degree views from the second floor, making the apartment bright and airy and a good lookout location. They were joined by friend William Daniel Jones and Clyde’s older brother Buck Barrow and his wife Blanche.
The “Barrow Gang” didn’t stay long, however. They rented the apartment on April 1st but fled in a bloody shootout with police only 13 days later when they were discovered.
The story goes that some nosy neighbors became suspicious by the secretive group with out-of-state license plates and thus notified the police. Local authorities quickly organized a raid on the apartment. The ambush turned into an all-out machine-gun shootout that resulted in the death of two law enforcement officers. The Barrow gang narrowly escaped.
Since Bonnie and Clyde had to leave in such a hurry, they left behind many of their personal effects including: guns, photographs, legal documents, clothing, jewelry and poetry written by Bonnie Parker. The authorities giddily poured over the items and released photos of them to the public in order to heighten awareness of the dangerous duo.
The shoot-out crime scene became a notorious location in Joplin and was preserved as a historic site due to its connection to the famous couple of the Public Enemy era.
Below is the Hollywood version of the Joplin hideout from the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde starring Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty:
The film depiction of the apartment house in Joplin is similar, but not entirely accurate. The real life building is stone-sided with an entry door on the left side:
It was also newly built back when the couple stayed there, not old and in disrepair like it was portrayed in the film.
Below is a floor-plan of the apartment which still has the same footprint as it did in Bonnie & Clyde’s time:
And check out this photo of the actual glass and wood interior door that opened from the stairway landing into the living room:
Look at the bullet holes!
Let’s have a peek inside:
The kitchen has been mostly preserved in a vintage state:
In the 2000’s, the apartment was restored by a local pastor named Phillip McClendon. He bought the place with the intention of running it as a bed and breakfast.
His plans changed however, when the town of Joplin was hit by a destructive EF-5 tornado on Sunday May 22, 2011.
Although the Bonnie & Clyde apartment house survived the tornado with only minor damage, the town was left with a serious shortage of housing. The decision was made to rent out the apartment on a long-term basis to tornado refugees.
Happily, Joplin has since rebuilt and House Crazy Sarah read recently that the apartment is now used as a vacation rental.
It was purchased in October of 2016 by Saundra Carr Cooper and her husband Stan who have since refurnished it and opened it up to the public as a homestay.
How fun would it be to stay here – immersed in this notorious chapter of 1930’s gangland history?
The photos shown here are a combination of when the apartment was decorated for a bed & breakfast and how it appears today as a vacation rental.
Bonnie & Clyde stayed in the bedroom below:
The second bedroom [pictured below decorated in two different ways] was used by Clyde’s brother Buck and his wife Blanche. Blanche was an unwilling participant in the criminal activities of the Barrow Gang, and she later recounted their time in this apartment in great detail in her memoirs.
Here is a picture of the small remodeled bathroom in the apartment:
Below is a rare photo of the garage on the lower level where most of the shooting took place and where the body of law enforcement officer Wes Harryman lay when it was all over:
The body of officer Harry McGinnis was found laying just outside of the garage.
Bonnie and Clyde were gunned down and killed a year after the Joplin raid in an ambush on a rural road in Louisiana. This was the sad but inevitable end to their 3 year crime spree across the American south.
Below is a police photo of what was left of their car. You can also see Bonnie’s body slumped over in the passenger seat:
The violent demise of Bonnie and Clyde was only the beginning of America’s enduring love affair with the good-looking outlaw couple who chose to go down in a hail of bullets, rather than settle for an ordinary life.
House Crazy Sarah is endlessly thankful that this vestige of history has been preserved. Kudos to the owners – past and present!
Ps…. Like historic gangster hideouts? Check out Al Capone’s New Jersey hideaway!