Hotel Congress has several claims to fame, from wandering ghosts to being dubbed one of the best bars in America, but the event that wrote Hotel Congress into history books occurred on January 22, 1934. It was the day Tucson captured the notorious gangster and bank robber John Dillinger, America's first Public Enemy #1.
Hotel Congress celebrates the anniversary of the gang's capture with Dillinger Days every January. Events at the hotel included re-enactments, vintage cars, whiskey tasting, music and tours of the historic hotel where the gang was holed up when a fire broke out. We spent yesterday morning there celebrating the 78th anniversary of the capture.
Vehicles from the Model A Car Club at the event:
John Dillinger, regaling us with his side of the story.
The getaway car.
Hostages... with cute shoes.
The coppa, stretching.
Hmmm... is there anything suspicious about a running vehicle parked in front of a bank?
The hotel was crowded!
Classic phone booths.
Actual switchboard Hotel Congress used to phone guests in their rooms --apparently it's still in operation.
The meeting room held artifacts/info of John Dillinger and the fire fighters.
Just like a lot of the current residents of Tucson, The Dillinger gang came to Tucson to "lay low". :) They were staying on the 3rd floor of Hotel Congress when a fire broke out. They escaped from their rooms using ladders and tipped the fire fighters to retrieve their luggage --which unbeknownst to the firemen, contained thousands in stolen dollars and an assortment of machine guns, pistols, ammunition and bullet-proof vests.
Later, after the gang had moved to a house on 2nd Avenue, one of the firemen recognized Dillinger. A stakeout ensued and the gang was captured.
The Dillinger gang (January 25, 1934): Russel Clark, Charles Makley, Harry Pierpont, John Dillinger | Ladies: Ann Martin and Mary Kinder (Face palm! Oops!)
Caught completely off guard, Dillinger's only words when captured, “Well, I’ll be damned!”
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