Iowa January 13, 2020
The Jesse James Historical Site In Iowa Holds A Long Forgotten Secret Of The Wild West
Did you know that there’s a piece of wild west history in the Hawkeye State? Iowa’s history is full of fascinating stories, but few are as unexpected as the Jesse James Historical Site sitting off the road in Adair, Iowa.
If you've heard any stories about the wild west, chances are you've heard about the notorious outlaw Jesse James. James was a bandit who made his way in the world by stealing from banks and trains.
Not many Iowans know, though, that a huge piece of the Jesse James story is set in the rural town of Adair, Iowa.
Adair County, Iowa is a rural community that's been decorated by passing trains since the earliest days of the railroad.
Today, if you travel through the town of Adair, you'll be driving right past a piece of history - the Jesse James Historical Site!
This monument represents the place of the first ever train robbery in the West - a crafty heist that changed the West forever.
In July 1873, the Jesse James gang learned about a huge shipment of gold that would be coming through the Hawkeye State on its way from Cheyenne, Wyoming. The cargo was worth $75,000 - a tremendous sum in the late 1800s. The gang scouted out an isolated place and planned their heist.
The gang sent out bandits to keep watch and track down the train, while Jesse and a few associates pulled out railroad spikes, loosed a rail, and tied a long rope to the rail back to their hideout on the hill. When the trail approached, they yanked the loose rail, and derailed the engine and cars. The Engineer and Foreman were killed, and several passengers were injured in the crash. The gang leapt in to action to steal the gold - but the cargo cars were empty. The shipment of gold had been delayed, but the gang made out with more than $3,000 in cash from robbing the passengers and the train's coffers.
The news quickly spread, and the country was shaken up by this new method of robbery.
The Governor of Missouri offered up a $10,000 bounty on James' head, but it took more than a decade until the legendary bandit met his fate at the hands of a fellow fugitive.
Today, you can find a train wheel and a stretch of track at the very spot that this fateful robbery occurred. Visit the Jesse James Historical Site in Adair, Iowa to see it for yourself.
Address: 1469 White Pole Rd, Adair, IA 50002, USA