Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Key to the First Bank Robbed by Jesse and Frank James

Good Afternoon key lovers!

  It is yet another beautiful day here up in the Rocky Mountains, and as my time at the Baldpate is down to only two weeks I am filled with a mixture of emotions.  I am excited to go back to school and continue my classes, but also sad to leave behind all the experiences and people that the Baldpate has brought into my life.  With my time coming to a close it also means that my Summer Enchanted Evening presentation is coming up next week!  In honor of this event, I will be focusing on yet another key with Wild West origin- the key to the first bank robbed by Jesse and Frank James.

  The robbing of the Old Southern Bank of Kentucky in Russellville has a lot of controversy surrounding it, as some historians contend that Jesse James was not present at the robbery, and was instead recovering from a gunshot wound elsewhere. These historians say that it was Frank James and the rest of the James Gang that robbed the bank on March 28, 1868.  The gang made off with a $17,000 haul, which is already a lot of money but was worth even more back in those years.  The robbery was only the third daylight bank heist in U.S history, as well as the first for the James Gang.  This robbery put what became the James-Younger gang on the map of dangerous criminals.

  The main vault, which had three chambers and four doors, was home to over two-millions dollars in gold at the time of the James Gang robbery, yet the robbers were unable to make off with that load.  They made off with the cash that was being stored in the building's second vault, which located in what was then the President of the bank's office, who's name was Nimrod Long.  This vault was known as the day vault since it was open during the daylight hours.  Two bullet holes still remain to this day, as Long refused to cash a questionable bond brought in from the gang, and therefore was shot and wounded.

  It was after this robbery that the James-Younger Gang made their presence known, and they went on to rob countless banks in the United States for many years.  The bank is now not a functioning bank, and instead is a home with a kitchen, six bedrooms, twelve fireplaces, and two mahogany staircases.  It was converted for residential use in the 1980s.

  I personally find the Wild West extremely interesting, and I hope you guys as the readers are enjoying reading my series of Wild West keys just as much as I am enjoying writing them!

  Til Next Time,