1984: Go inside the first museum dedicated to John Dillinger

Posted at 5:30 AM, Jul 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-23 05:31:04-04

NASHVILLE, IN — What began as a hobby eventually turned into a museum dedicated to preserving the history of one of Indiana’s most notorious criminals — John Dillinger.

Joe Pinkston opened the John Dillinger Historical Museum in 1975 near Franklin and Van Buren streets in Nashville, Indiana.

The museum housed hundreds of photographs and newspaper clippings of Dillinger as well as life-sized wax figures of Dillinger. Also on display was a wooden gun Dillinger made to assist in his escape from prison. The museum even had the bloody pants Dillinger was wearing when federal agents shot him outside Biograph Theater in Chicago.

It operated in Nashville until 1997.

The contents of the museum were sold to the Lake County Convention and Visitors Bureau in 1998, and a 2,300-square-foot Dillinger-themed museum opened at the Hammond Indiana Lake County Visitors Center in Nov. 1999. A memorial to police killed in the line of duty was added to the museum.

The museum was relocated to Crown Point in the summer of 2015 and closed permanently August 31, 2017 at 11:00 a.m.

John Herbert Dillinger was born in Indianapolis on June 22, 1903. The Dillinger family left Indianapolis for the town of Mooresville in 1920. Dillinger was buried at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis on July 25, 1934.