Red Crown Tourist Court

Red Crown Tourist Court

The Red Crown Tavern and Red Crown Tourist Court in Kansas City, Missouri was the site of the July 18, 1933 gun battle between law men and outlaws Bonnie & Clyde that was to ultimately result in the death of Buck Barrow and capture of Blanche Barrow.

Built in 1931 by Parkville, Missouri banker Emmett Breen at the junction of US 71 and Route 59 (although now called I-435) the red brick and tile structure housed a restaurant, ballroom, and filling station. It is now just northeast of the main Kansas City International Airport exit off of I-29.

The gang stayed at the tourist court to allow Bonnie some time to recover from some burns received when their car caught fire. The courts consisted of two brick cabins joined by two single-car garages. Several yards to the south stood the Red Crown Tavern, managed by Neal Houser. Directly across and caddy corner to the cabins was "Slims Castle", a Cafe and filling station. Houser became interested in the group when Blanche paid for dinners and beer with silver instead of currency.

When Blanche went into town to purchase bandages and atropine sulfate to treat Bonnie's leg the druggist contacted Sheriff Holt Coffey, who put the cabins under watch. Coffey had been alerted by Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas to be on the lookout for strangers seeking such supplies. The sheriff contacted Captain Baxter of the highway patrol, who called for reinforcements from Kansas City including an armored car.

At 11 PM that night, Sheriff Coffey led a group of officers armed with Thompson submachine guns toward the cabins. But the submachine guns proved no match for the Browning Automatic Rifles of the Barrows, who had recently robbed an armory. Although the gang escaped once again, Buck Barrow was shot in the head, and Blanche was nearly blinded from glass fragments in her eye.

Coffey, his son Clarence Coffey and a Jackson County officer were wounded.

On July 24, 1933, the Barrow Gang was at Dexfield Park, an abandoned amusement park near Dexter, Iowa. After being noticed by local citizens, it was determined that the campers were the Barrows. Surrounded by local lawmen and approximately one hundred spectators, the Barrows once again found themselves under fire. Clyde, Bonnie, and W.D. Jones escaped on foot. Buck was shot in the back. Buck died five days later at Kings Daughters Hospital in Iowa of pneumonia after surgery. Barrow, Blanche Caldwell; Phillips, John Neal (Ed.) (2004). My Life With Bonnie & Clyde. University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-3625-1.]

Coffey brought Blanche back to Platte City, Missouri where she was held in the jail before ultimately being sentenced for 10 years for her part in the murder of two lawmen in Joplin, Missouri. There was no evidence she had fired any weapons in Joplin or at the Tourist Court and she and Coffey remained in contact throughout their lives.

The Red Crown was a popular attraction to Platte City locals and became even more popular after the shootout. it was owned by Platte City sheriff Holt Coffey from 1945 to 1950. The Tavern burned to the ground in 1967 and today the remains lie near the Kansas City International Airport. The scales used by Blanche Barrow and W.D. Jones while "clowning" were recently auctioned off to a Maple Heights, Ohio family.

References

External links

* [http://www.plattecountylandmark.com/Article790.htm Platte County Newspaper article]
* [http://texashideout.tripod.com/breen.html Photos and memorabilia]
* [http://texashideout.tripod.com/redcrown.html Texas Hideout proflile of Red Crown]
* [http://www.plattesheriff.org/history.shtml History of The Platte County Sheriff's Office]


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