The Prickly Pair’s Drive
A preplanned trip through Texas that retraces occurrences and possessions related to Bonnie and Clyde
From the sight of the title, you might first assume that this article shows you areas on a drive where you see many variations and groves of the official Texas plant. Au contraire my friend. An entirely different topic lies in waiting for you here.
Introduce yourself to a trip that makes spending money on a Disney World excursion laughable. Behold The Prickly Pair’s Drive, a trip efficiently laid out for you that takes you through Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow’s lives in Texas.
Perhaps you know the history of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow well, but for those that simply only know the meaning of the reference; an overall background of the two star-gazed lovers only potentially heightens your emotions upon viewing of the sights I planned.
Although many accounts exist, the most credible says that Bonnie and Clyde met each other at Clyde’s friend’s and Bonnie’s sister-in-law’s home in West Dallas on January 5th, 1930. Barrow decided to visit the home at the same time Parker decided to stay there to help take care of the injured sister-in-law. Parker brewed hot chocolate in the kitchen as Clyde strolled in and almost immediately, the pair fell in love.
Soon after, they traveled the central United States together as a notorious criminal couple. They robbed mostly small stores or rural gas stations and served early-1930’s America as symbols for young romantic love and fair wealth distribution among economic classes.
Throughout their short time together, they both received credit for killing at least nine police officers and four civilians. On May 23rd, 1934, the authorities set up a trap on a road near Gibsland, Louisiana to kill the two outlaws. With the trap successfully fooling the couple, the criminals took their last breaths.
The Escape Plan
I took the time to plan this trip for you from start to finish in the most time and fuel-efficient manner possible. My primary recommendation stands that you perform this trip to the letter of my instruction: in the order written below, starting at the Red River Plunge. Of course, you may choose to perform the trip in reverse, which should result in a fairly efficient route as well. Or, should you decide that you only find one or a few of the destinations interesting, convenient, or feasible; that choice belongs to you.
Red River Plunge Marker- Wellington
Speeding North in a maroon Ford V-8 on US-83, Bonnie and Clyde accidentally missed a detour sign and crashed into the Red River. Bonnie’s leg, drenched in battery acid from the crash, required immediate medical assistance. She went into the care of a nearby farmer’s home who witnessed the crash.
Some accounts say that Clyde’s brother Buck shot the daughter of the family that assisted them while also crippling the family’s car to avoid a future pursuit. Others say that Bonnie and Clyde intended to rendezvous with Buck and Blanche (Buck’s wife) in Oklahoma.
The marker is seven miles north of Wellington, near the entrance to Pioneer Park, which is on the southbound side of US-83 just north of the bridge. Address: type in Collingsworth County Pioneer’s Park on your Google Maps app to get directions.
Collingsworth County Museum- Wellington
After the wreckage that took place in the Red River, locals came to investigate the sight to see if the gang left anything behind. Clyde, typically thorough in making sure no possessions sat in waiting for others, left behind two magazine clips and one of Bonnie’s leather gloves.
The museum lies an eleven minutes’ drive away from the marker. Clyde’s magazine clips and Bonnie’s leather glove now belong to the Collingsworth County Museum where they sit on display in the Sullivan Buildings. Admission is free. Hours are Tuesday through Friday 10 am-4:30 pm and they are closed on holidays. Address: 824 East Avenue, Wellington, TX 79095.
Lillie McBride’s Home- Dallas
Clyde grew up with Lillie McBride, the sister of Barrow Gang member Raymond Hamilton. Six lawmen patiently waited one night at the home for Grapevine Bank Robber Odell Chambliss. Chambliss and McBride knew each other beforehand. Officer Malcolm Davis ran around to the front of the home from the porch on the backside after hearing shots fired. Davis shouted “Hold on there!” at Barrow upon seeing him and then Barrow turned and shot Davis with a sawed-off shotgun.
Clyde schemed to break Hamilton out of jail and visited the home that night to ask if Lillie smuggled hacksaw blades in a radio to Raymond, who lay waiting inside the Hillsboro jail. Currently, a non-profit owns the home that uses it as a community center. A vote for landmark designation at this home closely approaches or already began. Address: 3111 North Winnetka Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75212.
Clyde Barrow’s Childhood Home- Dallas
Henry Barrow, Clyde’s father, built a gas station on formerly known Eagle Ford Road after a car struck his scrap metal wagon and then received a modest settlement. The gas station also housed the Barrow family. Henry titled the business the Star Service Station. Clyde later used the gas station to plan robberies after the prickly pair turned criminal.
The city of Dallas currently undergoes legal proceedings about whether to change the home into a historical landmark. A recent purchaser of the land planned to demolish the building to make way for the new, hence why legal proceedings began. Only a quarter of a mile drive from Lily McBride’s Home. Address: 1221 Singleton Boulevard, Dallas, Texas 75212.
Sidney Lanier Expressive Arts Vanguard- Dallas
Clyde attended sixth grade here. He attended both country and city schools. City school ended up in Clyde’s mind as the more dreadful of the two options, although he appreciated neither one. Sidney Lanier Expressive Arts Vanguard still instructs students, both eager and incurious to this day. Please don’t attempt to view the inside on your own accord. The drive takes 4 minutes from the Star Service Station. Address: 1400 Walmsley Ave, Dallas, Texas 75208.
Clyde Barrow’s Grave- Dallas
The original resting place of killer Clyde Chestnut Barrow. His brother Marvin, called Buck, also rests next to him. Barrow’s father Henry and mother Cumie lie close by as well. The story goes, according to a past article from the Dallas Observer, that the headstone requires additional cement reinforcement. In the article, historian John Neal Phillips is quoted saying, “For years, the Texas-OU weekend seemed to be a favored time of those who would sneak in and take the marker away. Once, Dallas police traced it to a pregame party, where it was being used as a coffee table.”
Mixed accounts prevail about accessing the inside of the cemetery. Sometimes the gate welcomes you in, other times not so much. If locked, try to find a groundskeeper or someone working on the premises whom you can explain your reasoning for the visit. If you are kind, they may be kind back and allow you to witness this can’t miss grave. Drive is 2 minutes from Clyde’s former school. Address: 1617 Fort Worth Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75208.
Eagle Ford Elementary- Dallas
Bonnie’s personality throughout time, mostly to make great stories, got picked, pulled, and prodded every way from Monday to Sunday. Her true identity: a sugary sweet Texas honey who just happened to fall for the bad boy… ok, the really bad one. She rarely ever shot anyone, loved her mother dearly, and performed well in school.
She even used to break her pencils in half and give the halves to the students whose families couldn’t afford school supplies. Bonnie shared some of those broken pencils at this elementary school. The inside of the school no longer allows access for criminals or good samaritans. Only a 7-minute drive from Clyde’s grave. Address: 1601 Chalk Hill Road, Dallas, Texas 75212.
Top O’ Hill Terrace- Arlington
Bonnie and Clyde hid out here to escape from the law, quite possibly gambling in the meantime. They also occasionally dined on the terrace. The picturesque terrace now sits upon Arlington Baptist University property, but tours occur every day except for Sundays. To set up a mandatory appointment for a tour, visit their website at topohillterrace.com/tours. The cost is a 10-dollar donation per person. The drive runs 25-minutes from Eagle Ford Elementary via Interstate 30. Address: 3001 West Division, Arlington, TX 76012.
Stockyards Hotel- Fort Worth
This hotel contained within the beating hearts of Bonnie and Clyde in 1933. Better than that, this hotel allows you to stay in the room they stayed in! The prickly pair enjoyed the room since it held great lookout views on two major streets. Ya know, in case they needed to make a fast getaway.
Artifacts in the room include Bonnie’s .38 revolver she left behind when she stayed there, photographs, newspaper clippings, and a poem by Bonnie to Clyde. Visit www.stockyardshotel.com to find out information on how to reserve the room. Drive from Top O’ Hill Terrace lasts 22 minutes. Address: 109 East Exchange Avenue, Fort Worth, TX 76164.
The Main Street Café- Lewisville
Constructed as a home for Dr. J.W. Kennedy in 1885. Supposedly, Bonnie and Clyde sometimes blindfolded and kidnapped Dr. Kennedy. They took him to their hideout, an area now covered by Lewisville Lake, so the doctor could provide medical care to whoever needed it. It now acts as a restaurant in old town Lewisville, but the restaurant understands the history of the home.
Some of the original structure and materials of the home remain inside. For a look at the menu, visit www.mainstcafelewisville.com. Open Mondays from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. A 42-minute drive from the Stockyards hotel. Address: 208 East Main Street, Lewisville, TX 75057.
Grapevine City Hall- Grapevine
The Grapevine Home Bank Robbery occurred in 1932 by neither Bonnie nor Clyde, but two associates of theirs. One of the associate’s names, Odell Chambliss. Since lawmen figured out that Odell Chambliss robbed the bank, this robbery led to the six lawmen going to Lillie McBride’s house awaiting Chambliss’s return, which led to the killing of Officer Malcolm Davis by Clyde, and then ultimately, since cops dislike cop killers so much, to Bonnie and Clyde’s death.
Grapevine Home Bank, now a jewelry shop called Bermuda Gold & Silver, recently donated to their city hall an original newspaper clipping of the article that came out via the Star-Telegram following the 1932 robbery. As well, the city hall possesses another artifact used in the robbery: a shotgun. The drive takes 18 minutes from The Main Street Café. Address: 200 South Main Street, Grapevine, TX 76051.
Bonnie and Clyde Killed Lawmen Here- Southlake
Bonnie and Clyde parked their car on the side of the road on Easter Sunday 1934, a little over a month before their deaths. When two cops fairly new to their positions parked their motorcycles behind the car and walked over to check things out, shots came out of the car killing them both. Both officer’s guns remained in their holsters at the crime scene.
Sixty-two years later, a cement slab in honor of the two fallen officers made its appearance at the spot where they fell. The slab says that Bonnie and Clyde killed them, but most historians say that neither of the two fired a shot there. Another member of the gang probably killed the curious cats. An 8-minute drive from Grapevine City Hall. Located on the south side of Dove Road, just east of the road’s intersection with Highway 114/Northwest Parkway.
Grave of Bonnie Parker- Dallas
Etched on her grave runs this rhyme: As the flowers are all made sweeter by the sunshine and the dew, so this old world is made brighter by the lives of folks like you. Many people say it seems an odd choice of wording given the legacy she created, but the people who know the true Bonnie Parker know that this woman practically defined the word sweet. She’s buried next to her mother, Emma Parker.
Bonnie wished for her family to bury her with Clyde if anything ever happened. Her mother Emma understandably said, “He had her in life. He can’t have her in death,” and buried Bonnie’s body far away from Clyde. A plot remains at Western Heights Cemetery for when Bonnie reunites with Clyde. Parker’s niece and Barrow’s nephew currently work on making that exact thing happen. For now, Bonnie rests 27-minutes away from the Bonnie and Clyde Killed Lawmen Here slab. Address: 9178 Webb Chapel Road, Dallas, TX 75220.
Belo Mansion- Dallas
Colonel A. H. Belo, the founder of the Dallas Morning News, hired a builder to build this mansion for him in 1890. The funeral of Clyde Barrow took place here. Ten-thousand people attended Clyde’s funeral. Weddings and events do take place there frequently, so proceed inside only if it seems no events currently are underway. Belo Mansion takes 15-minutes of travel time to arrive at by car from Bonnie Parker’s grave. Address: 2101 Ross Avenue, Dallas, TX 75201.
Bonnie’s Calaboose- Kemp
Bonnie and Barrow Gang member Ralph Fults spent the night of April 19th, 1932 in a freestanding brick-jail-cell in the small town of Kemp due to mule theft, auto theft, and burglary charges. Bonnie told the authorities her name was Betty Thornton. Ralph Fults also made up a fake persona. Armed men and countless visitors surrounded the little jail. Parker even spat in a woman’s eye due to the anger she experienced there. A 48-minute drive from Belo Mansion. Address: 106 West 11th Street, Kemp, TX 75143.
Texas Prison Museum- Huntsville
When Bonnie and Clyde died in a hail of bullets, many men and women tried to get their share of the infamous criminal’s memorabilia. At least one person tried to saw off Clyde’s ear and another person tried to take Clyde’s trigger finger, but the cops successfully protected the bodies. In one instance, a Bonnie and Clyde “artifact customer” revealed a gun strapped on the inside of Bonnie’s thigh.
This handgun now displays itself in the Texas Prison Museum in Huntsville. The cost is $7.00 per adult, children ages 6 to 17 cost $4.00, and children under 6 are free. Hours are Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Closed on Easter, Thanksgiving, two days during Christmas, and New Year’s Day. A two-hour and 19-minute drive via I-45 South from Bonnie’s Calaboose. Address: 491 TX-75 North, Huntsville, TX 77320.
Texas Ranger Hall of Fame & Museum- Waco
Many artifacts from the death trap that killed Bonnie and Clyde await you here; thanks in part to the lawmen that protected the car from the rushing hooligans. A pocket watch that belonged to Clyde, two guns from the death car, and a machine gun in addition to another gun used by the lawmen that shot the duo. Other guns and artifacts related to Texas Ranger history pose within the museum as well, including a signed Ranger commission by none other than Sam Houston.
The cost for adults is $8.00, children ages 6 through 12 cost $4.00, and children under 6 are free. Parking is also free. Opens at 9 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m. every day of the week. Closed for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. The drive takes 2-hours from the Texas Prison Museum. Address: 100 Texas Ranger Trail, Waco, TX 76706.
The Texas Ranger Museum (Buckhorn Saloon & Museum)- San Antonio
Didn’t we just see the Texas Ranger Museum? Well, yeah, but a different one with different things inside planted itself in San Antonio. At this one, in the place they call Ranger Town (the highlight of the museum), a replica 1934 Ford V8 Deluxe (the prickly pair’s death car) rests in showmanship. This stop exists in part if driving or flying to the real one in a Las Vegas casino seems too long a trip away from your wide-open and comfort-filled Texas pastures.
The cost is $21.00 per adult and $16.00 per child. Opens every day at 10 a.m. Closing times vary by day. The drive takes 2 hours and 45 minutes via I-35 South from the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame Museum. Address: 318 East Houston Street, San Antonio, TX 78205.