Missouri and Ozarks History

Information and comments about historical people and events of Missouri, the Ozarks region, and surrounding area.

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Location: Missouri

I'm a freelance writer specializing in the history of the Ozarks and surrounding region. I've written sixteen nonfiction books, two historical novels, and numerous articles. My latest books are Wicked Women of Missouri, Yanked Into Eternity: Lynchings and Hangings in Missouri, and Show-Me Atrocities: Infamous Incidents in Missouri History.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Bonnie & Clyde in Joplin

The apartment building at 3347 1/2 Oak Ridge Drive in Joplin where Bonnie and Clyde had their infamous shootout with police in April of 1933 has received quite a bit of attention lately. A new owner bought the property a few years ago and wanted to convert it to a bed and breakfast but couldn't get the request passed by the city council, mainly because of opposition from some of the neighbors living in the immediate area of the apartment. The last I knew, though, the owner was still trying to get the building declared a historic site.
For anyone unfamiliar with the location, the building sits just a couple of blocks off South Main Street, and although the address is Oak Ridge Drive, access to the apartment is actually from 34th Street. Back when many garages were detached from the primary house, the apartment at 3347 1/2 Oak Ridge was built over the garage, which was ideal for the Barrow gang's purposes. The gangsters could pull their cars into the garage and unload weapons or other contraband without being seen.
Clyde's brother, Buck Barrow, rented the apartment under an assumed name from Paul Freeman, and the gang had been there about two weeks before neighbors began to get suspicious of the comings and goings at the building and called police. The result, of course, was a bloody shootout that left two officers, J. W. Harryman and Harry McGinnis, dead.
The location on the outskirts of town near Main Street was another good thing about the apartment from the gang's standpoint, because after the gunfight, they made their escape south on Main Street, roaring through Redings Mill south of Joplin and eventually making their way to Texas.

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