Posted 10 years ago
This 8 x 10 glossy photo was originally acquired by my father-in-law when he worked for a local NW Indiana newspaper in the 30s. It shows Public Enemy No. One John Dillinger arm in arm with the Lake County Prosecuting Attorney, Robert Estill, at the Sheriff's Office in Crown Point, IN. The chummy nature of this and other photos caused both Estill and Sheriff Lillian Holley to later lose their jobs.
Dillinger was taken to the Crown Point Jail as a result of a Bank Robbery in East Chicago, IN, on Jan. 15, 1934, which resulted in the murder of a police officer. I must document this story before it’s lost: My father-in-law, who was a high school student at the time of the bank robbery, happened to be walking down an East Chicago street on the day of the bank robbery. He heard a commotion and moments later turned the corner and was witness to the aftermath of the robbery.
We’re all familiar with the story of how Dillinger escaped from the jail on March 3, 1934. The second photo is what the Sheriff’s House and Jail looks like today. Here’s a brief history of the building: Built in 1882, Indiana State Law at the time required the Sheriff to reside in a house adjoining the jail. The law was revoked in 1958 and this house was then used for Sheriff’s offices until 1974. It remained empty until 1988 when a group of Crown Point citizens formed the Old Sheriff’s House Foundation and a restoration project was begun and continues today.
Johnny Depp played an “easier to look at” John Dillinger in the movie PUBLIC ENEMIES. For three days the cast and crew were filming in Crown Point. Unfortunately, we were out of town at the time, but when my husband called his office (which is located across the street and down a block from the Sheriff’s House) one morning to check in, his secretary confessed that everyone was lined up in his office in front of the windows trying to get a glimpse of Johnny Depp!