Whether it's a conversation with a friend, a word that is penned, or a craft that is made, everything we do leaves a stitch in the fabric of time. Join us as we investigate the stitches of the past and present...
"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: ... a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak" (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7).
Near my house in rural Platte County, Missouri stands this
The Red Crown Tourist Court and the Red Crown Tavern stood
just off of Highway 71 (now I-29), ready to provide shelter and nourishment for
weary travelers. On July 18, 1933 (or maybe July 19th according to some accounts), just such a group checked into the adjoining
cabins. Clyde Barrows and his girlfriend Bonnie Parker, along with members of
their gang needed some time to heal up from a spate of robberies and
One of the double cabins
Bonnie had been badly burned in a one-car accident nearly a
month before, but a bungled robbery by W.D. Jones and Clyde’s brother, Buck,
had forced them to keep moving. Now, Clyde, against his brother’s advice,
decided the Red Crown Tourist Court would be the place to hole up for a few
The Red Crown Tavern with cabins behind
One bad decision led to another…and another. Clyde thought
to disguise their numbers by renting the cabins for three people instead of
five, so when Blanche, Buck’s wife, kept ordering food for five, the cabins’
owner began to get suspicious. Clyde had also backed the car into the
garage “gangster style” and subsequently covered the cabins’ windows with
Well, Platte City might not have been a sophisticated metropolis,
but its citizens knew odd behavior when they saw it.
Unfortunately, local sheriff Holt Coffey had trouble
convincing the sheriff of Kansas City’s Jackson County to assist. The man
simply didn't believe there could possibly be notorious gangsters in Platte
City. Sheriff Coffey was finally able to wheedle a couple officers with weapons
and an armored car.
Blanche, acting as the go-fer for the gang, began to notice
some rather unusual attention from the locals. Clyde told her it was her
Consequently, on the morning of July 20, 1933, when Sheriff
Coffey armed to the teeth and carrying a shield made of boilerplate pounded on
Clyde’s cabin door, the gang was completely unprepared.
After a brief burst of gunfire, Clyde and Jones bundled
Bonnie into the car and waited for the other two to join them, but the officers
had pulled the armored car across their path. When Buck and Blanche made their
dash for the car, the law opened fire, hitting Buck in the temple.
Meanwhile, the officers in the armored car, having sustained
considerable damage, pulled the car away from the cabins.
Blanche succeeded in getting her injured husband into the
car and the gang took advantage of their opportunity.
The lawmen offered no pursuit. Four days later, the gang
found themselves in another gun battle with the law—this time just outside
The already critically injured Buck and Blanche were
captured, but the other three escaped. Buck died a few days later. Blanche was
tried and sentenced to ten years in prison. She died in 1988.
Sheriff Coffey, who sustained two scratches from buckshot,
got a lot of mileage out of being shot by Bonnie and Clyde. The other officers
decided not to ruin his story. He’d actually been hit by friendly fire.
When Highway 71 became Interstate I-29, all traces of the
Red Crown Tavern and Tourist Court were obliterated. But it still makes for a
great local story!