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First National Bank East Chicago 1934 John Dillinger Robbery


First National Bank of East Chicago - Robbed by Dillinger in 1934

The First National Bank of East Chicago building was a neo-classical building built in 1929 in East Chicago, Indiana on the corner of Indianapolis Blvd and Chicago Ave. The building was notorious in Northwest Indiana for being the site of a January 1934 bank robbery by John Dillinger and his gang. Following the bank hold up, one of the members of the Dillinger gang, allegedly Dillinger himself, shot and killed East Chicago Police Officer William Patrick O’Malley on the sidewalk not far from the front entrance of the building. O’Malley died from eight gunshot wounds to the chest.

Several months later, Dillinger would be caught in Arizona and brought back to Lake County, Indiana where he was housed in the Crown Point Jail. Shortly after, Dillinger escaped from the jail using a fake wooden gun and stealing the sheriff’s personal car as the getaway vehicle.

After years of efforts by local preservationist groups and individuals, the building met the wrecking ball in August 2005 and was replaced by a Walgreen’s. The beautiful architecture and interior marble lobby were remarkable historic structures in Northwest Indiana, now lost to history.

Below are a few photos of the bank while it was open in 2004 and then one year later as it was being demolished.

First National Bank of East Chicago - Robbed by Dillinger in 1934

First National Bank of East Chicago

First National Bank of East Chicago - Robbed by John Dillinger in 1934

First National Bank of East Chicago