HUGOTON, Kan. – A recently dug up underground tunnel in southwest Kansas was likely used by 20th century outlaws Bonnie and Clyde, according to town leaders.
Hugoton officials last month discovered a partially collapsed tunnel under a building the couple frequented. The tunnel didn't contain any direct artifacts from the criminal pair, but town leaders plan to continue digging, the Wichita Eagle reported .
"I always wondered why nobody pushed this," said Jan Leonard, executive director of Stevens County Economic Development. "I've been wanting to bring this out for 20 years, but it never has happened. We opened up the tunnel and it has helped."
Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow are reported to have spent time in Hugoton during the late 1920s and early 1930s, when the newly discovered Hugoton Gas Field drew thousands of workers to town. Clyde worked in a farmer's field while Bonnie ran a cafe, where locals believe the couple ran a bootlegging operation, according to town leaders.
"I think the majority of the people here knew that there were rumors about them bootlegging and there were poker games on — and some of them got a little rough," said Neal Gillespie, the county's former economic development director whose grandparents lived near Bonnie and Clyde.
The FBI found receipts from Bonnie's cafe in the couple's car after they were killed in 1934.
Leonard discovered the tunnel behind a boarded-up wall in the old Bundy Hotel, where the poker games took place. The hotel once belonged to Dr. William Elwood Bundy, a Hugoton doctor who had homemade remedies.
Leonard found nearly 370 bottles filled with an unknown liquid in the tunnel, as well as little vials filled with vitamin B. He said he's sent samples to the Clendening Library and Museum at the University of Kansas Medical Center.
"I wouldn't normally test unlabeled vials, but will in this case because of all the information we've got," said Jamie Rees, assistant librarian and museum curator. "They were fairly famous in Hugoton for treating skin cancer. ... I think it's fairly unique for Kansas medical history."
Leonard hopes to eventually create a tourist attraction related to Bonnie and Clyde's history in Hugoton.
Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com