We’re currently travelling to Arizona, and we’ve passed a lot of fun billboards on our route, particularly one that said Meramec Caves explore Jesse James’ hideout! Let me give you a bit of background about the caves and their connection to the American outlaw.
Meramec Caverns is the name for a 4.6 mile cavern system in the Ozarks and is the most visited cave in Missouri, with around 150,00 visitors a year! The caverns were formed from the erosion of limestone over millions of years. Mike and I counted around 50 billboards pertaining to the Caverns, and I can certainly appreciate their commitment to marketing:) Speaking of marketing, in 1935, Lester B. Dill introduced the caves to the public as a tourist attraction and promoted the attraction by inventing the very first bumper sticker! How cool is that?
Meramec Caverns was also an important station on the Underground Railroad that housed thousands of slaves on their way to freedom.
According to local legend, James and his partner in crime, Frank, used the caves as a hideout in the 1870s! The caverns have also provided a setting for Hollywood in movies such as Tom Sawyer and Deep Impact.
A fun fact about Jesse James is that he handed out ‘press releases’ to witnesses at the scenes of his crimes; one read: “The most daring robbery on record. The southbound train on the Iron Mountain Railroad was stopped here this evening by five heavily armed men and robbed of ____ dollars… The robbers were all large men, none of them under six feet tall. They were masked and started in a southerly direction after they had robbed the train, all mounted on fine-blooded horses. There is a hell of an excitement in this part of the country!” *source historyhit.com
Also, after his death, his body was exhumed and proven to be him due to the missing finger bone that he had accidentally shot off while cleaning his pistol.
For today’s writing prompt, I’d like you to write a 1,000-word story using the photo prompt below, written in the third person narrative using crime as the genre. Feel free to submit your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org for your chance to have your story featured on our blog!