Bonnie and Clyde concealed themselves in a Great Bend, Kansas tourist court from June 29, 1933 until July 18, 1933 in the midst of one of their biggest crime sprees. Bonnie and Clyde rarely stayed in one location this long, but the extended stay was necessary as Bonnie was recovering from severe burns to her leg suffered in a June 10 car accident in Texas.
On June 10 Clyde was seven miles north of Wellington, Texas driving at night at his usual speed of 70 mph. The road seemed to suddenly disappear because a bridge was out. The car was airborne and crashed in the bed of the Salt Fork River. Fire engulfed the car and Bonnie’s right leg was engulfed in flames. After staying in Texas for a few days, Clyde steered the car north.
The Barrow gang rented two tourist cabins in Great Bend. The party included Bonnie Parker, Clyde Barrow, Buck Barrow (Clyde’s brother), Blanche Barrow (Buck’s wife), and W.D. Jones. Although Clyde stayed with Bonnie most of the time, Buck and W.D. Jones committed numerous robberies in Kansas to support Bonnie’s medical needs and other financial needs of the gang.
The tourist court in question was on the south side of the 2900 block of 10th St. in Great Bend. Below is a 2003 photo of the KFC in Great Bend showing the south side of the street where the tourist court was located.
A second 2003 photo below shows some abandoned cabins at 3200 10th which may have originally sat in the tourist court a few blocks away where the Barrow gang stayed.
While in Great Bend Clyde travelled to Oklahoma and robbed a National Guard Armory of weapons at Enid. They drove to the home of Pretty Boy Floyd in Salisaw, Oklahoma to see if a safehouse could be provided for Bonnie’s convalescence. However, they never made contact with Pretty Boy Floyd, and decided to continue Bonnie’s convalesence in Great Bend.
While in Great Bend Clyde took one of his Browning automatic rifles and sawed the barrel and stock so that he could drive with the gun in his lap while driving. He hired a Great Bend construction worker to weld together three twenty-shot clips, creating a 60 shot “banana clip.” Clyde referred to his new contraption as his “scattergun”, and it was a key part of his arsenel in later criminal exploits.
On July 18 the five fugitives relocated to Platte City, Missouri—but not before robbing a gas station—-and several other businesses—in Kansas on their way out of state.
“The Family Story of Bonnie and Clyde,” by Pillip W. Steele with Marie Barrow Scoma, Pelican Publishing Company, 2000.
“Running with Bonnie and Clyde: The Ten Fast Years of Ralph Fults,” by John Neal Phillips, University of Oklahoma Press, 1996.