The Dalton Gang Hideout – Meade, Kansas
History tells the story of the Dalton Gang who robbed trains for a number of years. They were joined by others forming a rather formattable gang. Although the Dalton brothers had all served as law enforcement officers their paths changed when Bob Dalton, who was serving as head of the Osage police, was accused of selling whiskey. His brother Grat Dalton also got into some trouble and was dismissed as deputy marshal for “conduct unbecoming an officer”. Then brother Emmett joined in with them in 1890 and all three were accused of stealing horses. Bob and Emmet took off for California while Grat was arrested but had to be released because of lack of evidence.
The story of the gang goes on with the trains they robbed and the people they joined up with but being a criminal and having the law afer you all the time certainly wasn’t a pleasant way to live.
For awhile they hid out at the home of Eva Dalton Whipple, who was their sister, in Meade, Kansas. The house that they were staying in still stands at the corner of Pearlette and Green Streets in Meade. The couple, J.N. Whipple and his wife Eva Dalton Whipple, left the area before the “boys” were killed and one of them caught. After the Whipples had moved away a discovery was made of a tunnel from the house to a barn built into the hillside below. Legend has it that the tunnel was used by the gang to come and go undetected by the law. Although during this time the tunnel was beam and dirt it was restructured by the WPA in the 1940′s with rock retaining walls and NYA crews reconstructed the tunnel and barn.
The tunnel runs for 95 feet. If you enter in the barn you will end up in the house which is now a museum, decorated with furnishing as it would have been in Eva’s day. The barn serves as an entrance to the attraction and houses a gift shop on the first floor and museum artifacts in the loft.
After the gangs last train robbery in 1892 the gang split up being pursued by the law. The Dalton boys decided to have one last go at getting money illegally, they were going to rob two banks in Coffeyville, Kansas. As they entered the banks they were recognized by the townspeople who sent out an alarm and the community grabbed their guns and took up positions to defend the town (and their money.) As the robbers tried to get away there was a gun battle in which four citizens and four bandits were killed. Emmett, the sole surviving member of the gang, was seriously wounded but recovered enough to stand trial. Although he did time, he was eventually pardoned by the Governor and spend the rest of his days in California.
If you think that’s the end of the story on the Dalton’s, you would be wrong since another brother, Bill, took the outlaw way of life. Get all of the story when you visit the Dalton Gang Hideout.
The Hideout is open year round. It is located 4 blocks south of Hwy 54 on Pearlette St. Open Monday – Saturday 9-5, and Sunday 1-5. Admission is $4.00, with a family rate available.