John Dillinger Days

An annual weekend event at the Hotel Congress in Tucson, Arizona, commemorates the capture of Public Enemy No. 1, John Dillinger. He and some of his gang were captured in Tucson in 1934, 81 years ago.


1930’s cars in front of Hotel Congress

The side street between Hotel Congress and the Historic Train Depot is closed off. The streets are lined with 100 vintage 1930’s era cars, an arts and crafts fair, beer garden, live music, and the stage area for the reenactment.


IMG_1479 IMG_1488

The Dillinger gang had robbed some banks in Chicago and were laying low in the Hotel Congress in Tucson. While they were there a fire broke out and the fire department came to put it out. Dillinger paid some firemen to retrieve their heavy suitcases (filled with bullet-proof vests, weapons, and the bank money).


Hotel Congress Fire, 1934

Two of the firetrucks that were there that day have been fully restored and were parked at the event today.


We scored an outside table at the Cup Cafe in the Hotel Congress for a good meal and a ringside seat to the reenactment.


Cup Cafe, Hotel Congress, Tucson, AZ

Many people were dressed in 1930’s style clothing….and our waitress was packing heat!


At first I was not excited to see another fake gunfight, we’ve seen enough of those over the last few years. But this was way better than I expected. It was a real show. The reenactment was fabulous! It lasted 45 minutes, was entertaining, informative, and humorous.

They were not captured on the day of the fire. Rather, the firemen recognized the gang from a picture in True Detective Magazine and the local Tucson police made the arrest.

  • Gasoline: $29 @ $2.04
  • Lodging:  free
  • Admission:  free
  • Parking:  $3
This entry was posted in Arizona, Daily Post, January and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to John Dillinger Days

  1. What fun! Love the old cars.

    Liked by 1 person

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