Crown Point Jailhouse John Dillinger Escaped From on March 3, 1934
Backstory and Context
This is the site of the Crown Point Jail that Dillinger escaped from on March 3, 1934 while awaiting trail. Dillinger was brought to this jail after being captured in Tucson, Arizona, where he in the Dillinger gang were attempted to hide from law enforcement. Dillinger and his gang attracted attention in Arizona with their flashy clothes and automobiles, and fire fighters recognized members of the gang a few days after they helped the gang remove heavy trunks full of weapons from a hotel fire. Dillinger was quickly flown back east to await trial for the murder of an East Chicago police officer. Dillinger was flown to Chicago and brought to this Crown Point jail by a thirteen-car convoy. Upon arrival here at this jail, Dillinger and law enforcement officials were met by a frenzy of reporters. Dillinger was joking and speaking with reporters at the time of his arrival, while denying his involvement in the murder of East Chicago officer O’Malley. Dillinger told reports when he arrived at the Crown Point jail he wasn’t in East Chicago at the time of the murder and that Red Hamilton, and later died of wounds from the shooting, was responsible for the murder. The Crown Point Jail was under the supervision of Sheriff Lillian Holley who was a female sheriff. She displayed confidence that the jail security was sufficient to keep the prisoner safe until after the trial, which was debated amongst other law enforcement officials. During Dillinger’s time in the jail he managed to carve a wooden gun, which he used to escape from the jail. He held the wooden gun into a guard, Sam Cahoon, back ordering him to unlock the cell, which then Dillinger locked the guard and more than 2 dozen prison personal. Dillinger has the assistance of another prisoner of the Crown Point Jail, Herbert Youngblood. They took Deputy Sheriff, Ernest Blunk and a Mechanic across the street from the jail hostage in Sheriff Holley’s Ford and fled the area. It was reported that Dillinger sang “The Last Roundup” during the escape and later abandoned the vehicle.
Gorn, Elliott J. Dillingers Wild Ride: the Year That Made Americas Public Enemy Number One. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.