Little Bohemia Lodge was a resort in Manitowish Waters, Vilas County, Wisconsin, that became famous in 1934 as the site of a botched raid by the FBI on a group of gangsters led by John Dillinger.
John Dillinger was an American bank robber and notorious criminal during the Great Depression era of the 1930s. Born in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1903, Dillinger became involved in criminal activities at a young age, and was arrested and imprisoned several times during his early adult years.
After being released from prison in 1933, Dillinger embarked on a series of daring bank robberies and heists, becoming one of the most wanted men in the United States. He was known for his charisma, charm, and daring escapes from law enforcement, and his exploits made him a folk hero to some during the difficult economic times of the Great Depression.
Dillinger was eventually tracked down and killed by law enforcement agents outside of a movie theater in Chicago in July 1934. His death marked the end of an era of notorious gangsters in the United States, and cemented his legacy as one of the most infamous criminals in American history.
At the time, the lodge was a popular vacation spot for Chicago gangsters, who were drawn to the area for its remote location and easy access to Canada, where they could evade law enforcement. On the night of April 22, 1934, the FBI received a tip that Dillinger and his associates were staying at the lodge, and agents were dispatched to arrest them.
However, the raid quickly went awry, as the gangsters were tipped off to the FBI’s presence and opened fire on the agents. A fierce gun battle ensued, and several innocent bystanders were injured. Ultimately, Dillinger and his associates managed to escape, and the FBI was widely criticized for their mishandling of the raid.
The incident at Little Bohemia Lodge became a national scandal, and it helped to cement Dillinger’s reputation as a daring and charismatic outlaw. Today, the lodge is a popular tourist destination, and visitors can see the bullet holes that remain in the walls from the raid.
The movie “Public Enemies” starring Johnny Depp as John Dillinger was partially filmed at Little Bohemia Lodge in Manitowish Waters, Wisconsin, where the real-life Dillinger had stayed in 1934. The lodge was used as a filming location to recreate the famous shootout between Dillinger and the FBI that took place on the property.
In addition to Little Bohemia Lodge, the movie was filmed on location at several other sites throughout the Midwest, including Chicago, Indiana, and Wisconsin. The film was released in 2009 and was directed by Michael Mann, and also starred Christian Bale and Marion Cotillard.
Historically the lodge has been known for its traditional Northwoods cuisine, which includes dishes such as fish fry, fried chicken, wild game, and hearty stews.
The lodge has also been known for its famous homemade bread, which is made fresh daily and served warm with every meal. Additionally, the lodge has a full bar and is known for its signature cocktails and local beer selection.
Things to Do Near Little Bohemia Lodge
There are many things to do and see near Little Bohemia Lodge in Manitowish Waters, Wisconsin. Here are some suggestions:
- Visit the North Lakeland Discovery Center – a nature center and preserve offering hiking trails, guided tours, and educational programs.
- Go fishing or boating on the many lakes in the area – the Manitowish Waters Chain of Lakes is a popular destination for fishing and water sports.
- Explore the nearby Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest – this vast forest covers over 1.5 million acres and offers opportunities for hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing.
- Visit the WinMan Trails – a network of cross-country skiing and mountain biking trails located just minutes from Little Bohemia Lodge.
- Check out the local art scene – Manitowish Waters is home to several art galleries and studios showcasing the work of local artists.
- Play a round of golf – there are several golf courses in the area, including the highly-rated Trout Lake Golf Club.
- Attend a local event or festival – Manitowish Waters hosts several events throughout the year, including the Colorama Festival, the Manitowish Waters Boat and Car Show, and the Northwoods Music Fest.
These are just a few of the many things to do and see in the Manitowish Waters area.