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Video of T. J. Stiles presentation at the Northfield Historical Society

On June 16 T.J. Stiles gave a presentation at the Northfield Historical Society titled "James vs Ames: How to visions of America collided at the Northfield Bank Robbery.”

You can see the video here.

James vs Ames: How Two Visions of America collided at the Northfield Bank Robbery from Hayes Scriven on Vimeo.

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T.J. Stiles to speak at the Northfield Historical Society

2010 Pulitzer Prize recipient and 1986 graduate of Carleton College T.J. Stiles will speak at the Northfield Historical Society on Thursday June 16th at 8:00 p.m. (after the bank raid) as part of the Taste of Northfield.  Stiles presentation is titled James vs Ames: How the two visions of America collided at the Northfield Bank Robbery.

Stiles is the author of The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt, winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for biography and 2009 National Book Award for nonfiction, and Jesse James: Last Rebel of the Civil War winner of the Ambassador Book Award and the Peter Seaborg Award for Civil War Scholarship.

The presentation will start after a bank raid re-enactment by the James-Younger Gang that is slated to start at 7:00 p.m.  You can check out the rest of the Taste of Northfield Events here.

Refreshments will be served.

This program is sponsored by Carleton College and Just Food Co-Op.

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James-Younger Gang will Ride to Hot Springs!

Editors Note: This article was written by Tom Nall

Founder and past president of the James-Younger Gang, Phillip Steele, writes, “Hot Springs, Arkansas became an early vacation resort as a result of the many thermal springs that flowed from the hills surrounding the city.  Trains from the north and east brought numerous wealthy passengers to Little Rock and Malvern where special coaches picked them up and carried them 60 miles through the Ouachita Mountains to Hot Springs.  No doubt still suffering from leg and chest wounds he received during the Civil War, Jesse James found the mineral baths of Hot Springs helped.  Drifting into Arkansas following their robbery of the Chicago Rock Island and Pacific train near Adair, Iowa on July 21, 1873, Jesse James and Frank James, along with their Younger brother associates planned their first stage coach robbery.”  It is this event along with many other James-Younger connections that leads the modern-day JYG to Hot Springs, Arkansas in search of history.

One hundred and thirty-eight years after the robbery, Hot Springs continues to be a resort center.  Nestled in the Ouachita Mountains, this area is known as the Diamond Lakes Country.  Five sparkling lakes; Ouachita, Hamilton, De Gray, Greeson and Catherine, along with three rivers Ouachita, Caddo and Little Missouri will provide us with fantastic fall scenery.  While in Hot Springs we will be based at the historic Arlington, which features a pool, bathhouse and spa.  In addition, the hotel offers three restaurants, jazz in the lobby bar, a ladies’ boutique mall, an extensive gift shop and many other amenities.  Directly across from our hotel is the Hot Springs National Park.  This is the smallest and oldest of the parks in the National Park System, dating back to 1832 when President Andrew Jackson and Congress established – 40 years ahead of Yellowstone – the first federally protected area in our nation’s history.  Hot Springs Reservation, which was renamed Hot Springs National Park in 1921, was originally created by the federal government to protect the 47 naturally flowing thermal springs on the southwestern slope of Hot Springs Mountain.  Also, almost adjacent to our hotel is the world-famous Bathhouse Row.  Several of these turn-of-the-century buildings have been fully restored to their original brilliance and we will be able to soak in the thermal waters as well as receive massages and spa treatments.  I invite you to come early to our conference or leave late in order to enjoy the full experience of Hot Springs.

I have made four trips to Hot Springs thus far and plan one more in organizing for our conference.  I have been working closely with the Garland County Historical Society and their Executive Director, Elizabeth Robbins as well as with the Hot Spring County Historical Society and their president, Mrs. Mary Lawrence.  Both have been extremely helpful in assisting me with the arrangement of our meetings, speakers and bus tour.  There is a genuine feeling of excitement about the coming of our gang.  The Hot Springs National Park Service has also been assisting me and will provide a special speaker.  My thanks to Dennis Magee, historian and owner of The Battlefield, A Civil War Bookshoppe, who has agreed to speak on the James-Younger activities during the Civil War.  We will also be able to visit his unique shop located just around the corner from our hotel.  Dennis has a very large selection of books and memorabilia for sale.  A trip to Hot Springs would be incomplete without investigating its gangster history.  Visiting Hot Springs today, it’s hard to imagine the city as a hotbed for organized crime such as gambling, prostitution and bootlegging, but from the late 1800’s through the mid-1900’s, especially in the 1930’s, that is precisely what Hot Springs was widely known for.  Al Capone, Frank Costello, Bugs Moran, Lucky Luciano, Alvin Karpis and many more gangsters and outlaws came to know this safe, secluded and scenic city as a safe haven.  Robert Raines, the Director of The Gangster Museum of America has agreed to speak and we will be touring his museum.  As you can see, the local residents have been extremely welcoming and assisting.  They possess an intense pride in this,their home, and they are anxious to share their history and scenic beauty with us.

As always, our conference will open on Thursday with a social hour followed by speakers and entertainment.  Friday’s activities, of course, will include the featured bus tour.  We will leave from the Arlington Hotel and proceed to sites at which Frank James was employed.  Frank lived in Hot Springs around 1911-12 and worked at Happy Hollow Amusement Park and Hamp Williams’ store.  In November of 1909, Cole Younger spoke at the Hot Springs City Auditorium and we will also visit this site.  From there it will be out of Hot Springs toward Malvern and the actual site of the stagecoach robbery.  Continuing just a short distance will take us to Magnet Cove which has been a mecca for mineralogists, geologists and rock hounds.  Until recently, the available data indicated that there were more distinct minerals found in the five-square-mile radius of the cove than were found anywhere else on the planet; a small location in Russia is now believed to be comparable to Magnet Cove’s mineral deposits, many of which are microscopic.  The next stop will feature the oldest church west of the Mississippi River, the Rockport United Methodist Church.  This church still has the original log frame work and was visited by President and Mrs. Roosevelt in 1936.  Next we will come to the town of Malvern and its railway depot.  It is from here that passengers would arrive and board the stagecoach for Hot Springs.  Also while in Malvern, we will tour the Hot Spring County Historical Museum which is located in the Boyle House.  Here we will find artifacts and memorabilia relating to local history, including Caddo Indian pottery, quilts, antique furniture and much more.  Upon our return to Hot Springs and the Arlington Hotel, we will view the site of Essex Park, an early racetrack, will see the site of Alvin Karpis’ hideout, and also view the boyhood home of President Bill Clinton.  Our final stop will be at the Porter House.  It is here that a famous gunfight broke out in 1899 that pitted lawmen against lawmen – the Garland County Sheriff’s Office vs. the Hot Springs Police Department and resulted in five deaths.  Lunch will of course be had along the way and an evening dinner site is being arranged.  Saturday’s activities will include morning speakers, lunch, a tour of The Gangster Museum of America, and our banquet highlighted by an address given by noted Old West author, Chuck Parsons.  Please realize that the above plans may need adjusting as we get closer to the conference.

The James-Younger-Gang’s Conference will be headquartered at The Arlington Resort Hotel and Spa, 239 Central Avenue, Hot Springs, National Park, Arkansas, 71901.  Telephone numbers for the hotel are (501) 623-7771, toll free 1 (800) 643-1502.  Our contact person at the hotel is Sales Manager, Carmen Dunbar, (501) 609-2572, toll free 1 (800) 626-9768.  Email Carmen at  Thursday ‘s activities will be at the hotel as will Saturday morning’s speakers and the Saturday evening banquet.  The Arlington has kindly blocked rooms for us at a rate of $79.00 for a single/one adult and $89.00 for a double/two adults.  When making reservations, mention the James-Younger Gang and receive the reduced rate.  Reservations at our reduced rate must be made before August 30, 2011.  Please remember this date as reservations made after that date will be considerably higher for you.  Also, know that our organization has guaranteed the Arlington twenty rooms.  We will be assessed an attrition fee if we do not reach that number by August 30.  So, please book by August 30, 2011.  For those flying, Little Rock is serviced by numerous major carriers, several car rental companies and a shuttle (1(800) 643-1505) is also available from the airport to Hot Springs.   Hope to see you all in Hot Springs September 29, 30 and October 1.

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