outlaw hideouts in arkansas

Outlaw Hideouts in Arkansas – Bonnie, Clyde, & the Whole Gang

Arkansas has a deep history of outlaws and outlaw hideouts. Maybe it’s the hill country that attracted them so many years ago.

With all the hills and back roads, it would be easy to hide.

Or, maybe, Arkansas was a popular place for outlaw hideouts because of it’s distance from larger metropolitan areas.

No matter the answer, the fact still stands that Arkansas has a deep history of outlaws.

Hot Springs is famous for its ties to outlaws like Al Capone, Bugsy Segel, Bugs Moran, and Lucky Luciano.

These men frequented The Ohio Club which was a popular bar and casino at the time.

During prohibition, the Ohio Club turned into a speakeasy and changed it’s name to the Ohio Cigar Store. The front portion of the building was walled off to contain the cigar store while the back section remained a bar and casino.

The "Ohio Cigar Store" in 1926
The “Ohio Cigar Store” in 1926

Al Capone seemed to enjoy Hot Springs as a vacation spot much like we do. However, I doubt we engage in the same activities as Mr. Capone.

Even Bugs Moran vacationed in the Spa City. Mr. Moran must have been a smart man. Hot Springs is a great vacation spot but we visit there to enjoy the sandwiches at the Bathhouse Brewery. I have a feeling Bugs Moran was using Hot Springs as an outlaw hideout. It was a great place to lie low and do a little gambling.

It’s reported that Bugsy Segel learned quite a bit about gambling while visiting the Ohio Club. He then moved his efforts to Vegas. -source

The Ohio Club Interior in 1905
The Ohio Club Interior in 1905

Jesse James enjoyed the hill country of the Ozarks here in Arkansas. Unfortunately, Jesse didn’t come for the excellent hiking.

Rumors have it that Jesse James hid treasure somewhere in the hills of Calico Rock in Izard County, Arkansas. This place was possibly used as a hideout by the James/Younger gang after the Civil War. I have even read of the cave with a carving in the rock marked “JJ Hideout.”

I doubt Jesse James wrote this himself. What outlaw would mark his own “outlaw hideout”?

The Ohio Club in Hot Springs Arkansas

The Ma Barker Gang visited Arkansas though their visit is an exceptionally sad one. They committed their first murder in Pocahontas, Arkansas by killing the town marshal one morning before daylight. The marshal, Manley Jackson, was simply doing his job. -source

Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd and his family used Fort Smith as their “outlaw hideout.” They stayed in a small house at 710 N. 36th St during the Fall of 1931 through the Spring of 1932.

Pretty Boy Floyd had been on the run for about nine months before he briefly settled in Fort Smith to lay low.

While living in Fort Smith, Charles Floyd used the alias “Hamilton.” Mr. Floyd’s son, Jackie, even attended school nearby at Rogers School as Jackie Hamilton.

Frank “Jelly” Nash has been called “the most successful bank robber in U.S. history,” but he is most noted for his violent death in what has become known as the Kansas City Massacre. -source

Mr. Nash lived in Paragould and Jonesboro during his lifetime. He also liked to visit Hot Springs like other gangsters of his time. He was actually arrested in Hot Springs while on a visit then died in the Kansas City Massacre the next day.

Frank Nash is buried in the Linwood Cemetery in Paragould.

Bonnie and Clyde also sought out the hills of Western Arkansas as hideouts.

The most serious crime committed in the state by the Barrow Gang was the murder of Marshal Henry D. Humphrey of Alma (Crawford County), committed while the gang was hiding out in a tourist camp in Fort Smith (Sebastian County) in June 1933. -source

The tourist camp that Bonnie and Clyde used as their “outlaw hideout” was known as the Dennis Tourist Camp and was located at 5002 Midland Blvd in Fort Smith.

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