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Celebrating Kansas by car - Dalton Gang

By Stephanie Bergmann, Independent Living sales and marketing director

You’ve probably heard of the infamous Dalton Gang that robbed trains and banks in the late 1800s, but you might not know about their hideout in southwest Kansas.

The Dalton Gang was aided and abetted by Meade, Kan., resident Eva Whipple, sister to the notorious robbers. Eva’s old home features a tunnel the gang used to access the house. Now a tourist destination, visitors are invited to retrace the steps of the Old West outlaws.

A small house in Meade, owned by their sister, Eva Whipple, concealed a big secret for years. A tunnel leading to the barn 95 feet away allowed the outlaws to come and go from the home undetected by the law. Bob, Emmet and Grat Dalton had a $5,000 bounty on their heads — big money in those days!

The original tunnel was just dirt and boards, but the city later reconstructed it with stone, turning the entire property into a museum and tourist attraction. For just $5, you can now go underground and follow the Dalton Gang’s trail. It’s fun to imagine what it would be like sneaking through the dark to emerge through a hole in the dining room floor!  

Eva and her husband abandoned the house suddenly, not long before her brothers were shot during a bank robbery in Coffeyville. Emmet Dalton survived and spent 14 years in prison before he was pardoned. He capitalized on his notoriety by moving to Hollywood and starring in a few silent movies in the 1920s.

It’s a strange-but-true tale from the Old West that you can experience firsthand. The Dalton Gang Hideout in Meade is open every day year-round and sits about three hours from Wichita off Highway 54/400. You can also visit the Dalton Defenders Museum in Coffeyville and learn about the brave citizens who stopped the bank robbers in 1892 and protected their town. Admission is $7 for seniors.

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