Nearly a century after their bloody crime spree, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow are still two of the most infamous criminals in American history. The Depression-era duo made headlines for being in a romantic relationship while robbing banks and shooting guns at anyone coming in their way as they traveled throughout the south with their gang. They were in their early 20s when they gained quick reputations as notorious criminals, killing at least nine officers and four civilians in their wake.
Their stories have been told many times over the years in movies, TV shows, music and even theater. Their fame has been romanticized over time, but let's make no mistake. They were criminals, robbing funeral homes and small town stores before the best of the law could catch up with them. The "public enemy" era was fascinating, as was the sensation Bonnie and Clyde stirred in the press during their three-year run.
This road trip will take you from Oklahoma through Texas to Louisiana, seeing everything from jails they spent time in, to their burial plots and even museums featuring real Bonnie and Clyde artifacts.
Bonnie and Clyde Shootout Site in Stringtown, Oklahoma
At N. Mississippi Ave, you can visit the monument marking one of Bonnie and Clyde's shootouts as they evaded capture in Oklahoma. The monument stands where a dance hall was once made famous for the shootout along 69, a must-see for visitors wanting to relive the infamous criminals' time on the run. The monument honors Atoka County Deputy Sheriff Eugene Moore, who was killed in the incident, as well as wounded Atoka County Sheriff, C.G. Maxwell.
Ponder Bank Building in Ponder, Texas
Located at 100 W. Bailey Street, the Ponder Bank is one of the many banks Bonnie and Clyde robbed during their crime spree. It was even used as a filming location in the 1967 film starring Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty. As the story goes, the infamous duo didn't realize that the bank was actually bankrupt when they attempted to empty the vaults, so there wasn't anything for them to take. The same building still stands tall in Ponder, including the original bank vaults.
Bonnie and Clyde Crime Spree Continues in Southlake, Texas
On Dove Road, off Hwy. 114, Bonnie and Clyde shot down state troopers H.D. Murphy and Edward Wheeler on April 1, 1934. This was just a month before they were finally brought down by the law once and for all in Louisiana. In 1996, a marker was placed to honor the two lost lawmen on Dove Road. Doris Edwards, the widow of Trooper Wheeler, attended the ceremony when the memorial was unveiled decades after his death.
"It's just stayed inside me and festered all this time — all the publicity on Bonnie and Clyde, glamorizing them," Mrs. Edwards told the Associated Press. "I want the world to know what vicious killers and murderers they are."
Grave of Clyde Barrow in Dallas, Texas
It seems only fitting that Bonnie and Clyde are buried in Dallas, where they first met and fell in love. Despite Bonnie's wishes to be buried next to Clyde, they have two different final resting places. Clyde was laid to rest at his family plot in Western Heights Cemetery. Though located in a private area, Atlas Obscura has some helpful tips on trying to access the grave site.
"The grave is in a gated cemetery that is marked no trespassing. Many have contacted the caretakers and are usually given permission. The large gates are typically locked, but a stairway on the left is always open. A well-worn path will lead you to where the Barrow family plot is located."
Grave of Bonnie Parker in Dallas, Texas
20 minutes away, you'll find Bonnie Elizabeth Parker's final resting place at Crown Hill Memorial Park Cemetery in Dallas. Bonnie's mother, Emma Parker, refused to bury her daughter next to Clyde Barrow, too grief-struck from her loss. She was initially buried in West Dallas' Fish Trap Cemetery, just two miles from Western Heights, but was later moved in 1945 due to frequent vandalism. Roadside America has some directions to access the gravesite when you visit in person.
"As you enter the cemetery, road forks left and right. There is a hedge in the middle. Walk up the left side of the hedge and you'll find the marker beside her mother facing Webb Chapel Rd."
Bonnie Parker's Little Jail in Kemp, Texas
Bonnie Parker didn't spend her entire criminal career evading capture. She spent the night in jail in the Kemp Calaboose, a tiny, standalone jail cell in the tiny Texas town of Kemp. You can still visit the lone jail cell at 106 W 11th St, where a historical marker commemorates the site. According to the stories, Parker was held April 19-20, 1932, and spit through the jail cell window at local onlookers.
Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum in Waco, Texas
There's an entire case full of Bonnie and Clyde artifacts you can see at the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum. Some notable trinkets include Clyde's pocket watch, taken from the couple's infamous "Death car," as well as confiscated guns the couple used on their run from the law. As the museum is dedicated to law enforcement, you can also see the very guns that were used in the final shootout in which Bonnie & Clyde were shot down by Frank Hamer and Maney Gault.
Eastham Prison Farm in Lovelady, Texas
Not only did Bonnie and Clyde shoot down officers of the law and rob banks, but they even aided in the escape of five prisoners from this high-security prison. In 1934, the lovebirds and their gang spent days prepping for their Jan. 16 jailbreak, with two of their men even sneaking through the fence to hide a couple of guns that would assist one of the inmates in the escape. Why did they want to break out prisoners from this particular prison? Barrow himself was an inmate here, sentenced to 14 years but famously escaped shortly after incarceration. He referred to it as a "hell hole" after seeing prisoners consistently beaten and treated poorly and decided, after getting free, to break out a couple of his buddies. As five inmates shocked everyone by making a successful escape, Barrow himself protected them from oncoming guards with his machine gun.
Bonnie & Clyde Ambush Museum in Gibsland, Louisiana
You'll find the ideal way to wrap up your road trip just hours outside of Texas in Lousiana. As this is where the two criminals died, it would make sense that there are a few notable places to visit. At 2419 Main St, you'll find the official Bonnie & Clyde Ambush Museum, full of artifacts and history. The museum is located at Ma Canfield's Cafe, where the criminals purchased their final meal before driving off to their deaths just 7 miles away. If you'd like to recreate their final orders, the museum claims Bonnie ordered a BLT, and Clyde got fried bologna. There is also the Authentic Bonnie & Clyde Museum in town you can visit, but it is temporarily closed.
Bonne & Clyde death site in Gibsland, Louisiana
Frank Hamer and Maney Gault finally tracked down the infamous duo and, with the help of Texas and Louisiana police, shot down the couple outside of Gibsland. A monument stands along the highway to mark the moment in history, though it's covered in signatures from visitors over the years as well as holes from people taking part of the rock out as a memento. Roadside America has specific directions on where to find the marker outside of town.
"From Gibsland, drive south 2.5 miles on Hwy 154. Turn right to stay on Hwy 154 (If you go straight you'll be on Hwy 517. If you pass the Springfield Baptist Church you've driven too far). Follow Hwy 154 another 5.5 miles. You'll see the monument on the right."
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