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Adair, Iowa: Jesse James - First Train Robbery in the West

The monument features the actual section of track that Jesse James moved to derail the train on July 21, 1873. The plaque, mounted in a train wheel, was stolen years ago and taken to Ohio; then the thief's house burned down and the plaque was discovered and returned.

White Pole Rd, Adair, IA
I-80 exit 75, turn south onto White Pole Rd, then drive one mile south. A roadside pull-off on the left.
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Visitor Tips and News About Jesse James - First Train Robbery in the West

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First Train Robbery in the West monument.

Jesse James: First Train Robbery in the West

This is a nice little stop for a photo-op. It is in a convenient location, right off the road; a lot of the road trips I have passed right by this stop.

[Bianca Giron, 11/07/2019]

Agreed. We last drove past this on our way from Anita ("Whale of a Town") to Stuart ("Bank Robbed by Bonnie and Clyde").

First train robbery in the west plaque.

Monument to the First Train Robbery in the West

Monument to the First Train Robbery in the West. Picture from April 2007.

[Matt, 02/16/2008]

Several places make the "first train robbery in the West" claim. This one is special because of the Jesse James connection, and because it still has the rearranged railroad track. The first train robbery in the East took place seven years earlier, in 1866.

Separated rails, Jesse James train robbery.

Jesse James' First Train Robbery in the West

This monument shows where the first western train robbery by Jesse James occurred on July 21, 1873. It has the actual track Jesse James separated to derail the train.

[Randy Walker, 04/02/2005]

Nearby Offbeat Places

Smiley Face Water TowerSmiley Face Water Tower, Adair, IA - 2 mi.
Behold the Mighty Wind Turbine BladeBehold the Mighty Wind Turbine Blade, Casey, IA - 5 mi.
Tree in the Middle of the RoadTree in the Middle of the Road, Brayton, IA - 8 mi.
In the region:
Tiny Church: Morning Star Chapel, Elk Horn, IA - 21 mi.

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