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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Johnny Depp, John Dillinger and the Little Bohemia Lodge

I don't think Tom will ever recover from being a history teacher. After our trip through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, we made a beeline for the Little Bohemia Lodge, near Manitowish Waters, in northern Wisconsin. 
The reason, of course, is historical:  Little Bohemia is where the famous shootout between the Dillinger gang and FBI agents occurred as depicted in the recent film Public Enemies, with Johnny Depp (woot!) as bank robber John Dillinger. 

Oh, yeah, buddy!
Actually, the Lodge was pretty interesting. We settled in for lunch and after we ordered, Tom wandered around, taking pictures. The hostess was gracious enough to show him the room where the FBI shot through the windows, thinking Dillinger was inside. The FBI didn't consider whether anybody else might have been there, but just blasted away. The original glass with bullet holes is still there, covered by other windows to preserve it.  (Click any photos for a closer look.)
Tom followed the trajectory of the bullets and found they had penetrated a wall across the room, and then into the wall of the next room!


 The shootout was a public relations disaster for the FBI. One agent was killed as well as one innocent bystander. Two bar room patrons were wounded in their Chevy coupe as they left the Lodge parking lot. The headlines screamed, "Ineptitude!"

Dillinger and the gang escaped; witnesses are still mounted in the main hall. 

A glass case holds items the gang left after fleeing the scene, including Dillinger’s Ex-Lax. Maybe after taking the Ex-Lax he was “on the run” in more ways than one.

 Five years ago the former owner wanted to tear down the Lodge and build condominiums, according to the hostess/tour guide. Fortunately, the present owner had a cabin across the lake, and, thinking it a shame to have something so historical torn down, bought the lodge and re-opened it. Soon after, he was contacted by Universal Pictures asking to film on location! Despite the addition of a deck, the lodge is almost exactly like it was in the 1934 shootout, including the tables and chairs, so we were told.

While Tom took pictures, two diners asked him what he was “shooting,” (get it?), so he launched into a historical explanation. The couple was unaware of what had happened, and they hadn’t seen the movie Public Enemies. Tom took them to the bullet holes on the wall and explained what the hostess had said. 

While Tom (in history teacher mode) gave his lecture to the captive couple, I enjoyed the posters in the entry area.    

I like history, too, you know, especially if Johnny Depp is involved.


  1. my brother cracks me up.....;)

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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