27 February 2012

Midwesternist Macabre Monday: The John Dillinger Museum, Hammond, IN


Just over the state line from the south-side of Chicago is Hammond, Indiana. As much as the denizens of Hammond may claim otherwise, it's a drab, run-down town with an interesting past but no future. People who actually live in Chicago know that there are only a few justifiable reasons to ever go to Hammond, and they are:

  • Getting cheaper gas and cigarettes.
  • Attempting to double your paycheck at one of Northwest Indiana's many casino boats.
  • Purchasing fireworks.
  • Peering inside the windows of darkened liquor stores on Sundays because of the ridiculous blue laws that are still on the books.
But there's another reason one might want to venture to Hammond, and that reason is The John Dillinger Museum at the Indiana Welcome Center.

John Dillinger is a figure ingrained in Chicago's history, but a lot of the shenaniganshe pulled were across the state line. He was born in Indiana. He's buried in Indiana. In between, he robbed Indiana banks, murdered an Indiana policeman, and escaped an Indiana jail. Sure, he may have been gunned down outside The Biograph in Chicago, but the feds brought along a few vengeance-seeking Indiana cops for the assassination.

Aside from historical documents, interactive exhibits, and a life-sized wax figure of Dillinger, your $4 lets you see some interesting memorabilia associatedwith the legendary criminal, including:
The wooden gun he used to escape the Crown Point jail.

Dillinger's lucky rabbit's foot.

The pants he was wearing when he was shot.

So if you need to fill up your gas tank on the cheap or you're running low on your stash of illegal fireworks to sell out of your trunk to children in Pilsen, consider checking out this piece of Hoosier history. The Dillinger Museum is open 10am to 4pm. And, unlike Indiana liquor stores, the museum is seven days a week

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