Architectural Photography

Event Photography: Dillinger Days and Downtown Tucson Construction

This past weekend, I attended the annual Dillinger Days celebration in Downtown Tucson. This event commemorates the 1934 capture of "Public Enemy Number One," bank robber John Dillinger. The festivities centered around the Hotel Congress, where Dillinger and his gang of outlaws stayed when they first hit town.

The hotel boiler caught fire, forcing the evacuation of the hotel. The Dillinger gang got out safely, then they realized that they’d left a couple of suitcases full of guns, ammunition, and money inside. They asked a fireman to retrieve the suitcases, and, just to make the trip worthwhile, the gang gave the fireman a hefty tip. Then they found other places to stay.

After the firemen returned to their station, they spotted a photo of John Dillinger in True Detective magazine. Time for Tucson’s Bravest to pick up the phone and alert Tucson’s Finest. Who arrested Dillinger and his gang a few days later.

The 2010 edition of Dillinger Days happened right after a major rainstorm hit Tucson. Same storm left a lot of snow on the Santa Catalina mountains, which are "jailed" behind the Union Pacific railroad fence that’s just north of the Hotel Congress…

Nature photography - snow-covered Santa Catalina Mountains

If you’re into antique cars, Dillinger Days was the place to be. Talk about fun for the whole family…

Event photography - Family admiring antique car at Dillinger Days in Downtown Tucson, Arizona

I was very impressed by the amount of work that went into the restoration and upkeep of these cars…

Event photography - Antique cars at Dillinger Days in Downtown Tucson, Arizona

What’s even more impressive is the fact that most of them are still working automobiles. And, as you can see, they are much loved by their owners…

Event photography - Antique Ford at Dillinger Days in Downtown Tucson, Arizona

On the other hand, some of them still need work. This 1939 Chevy Sedan Bus was used to transport University of Arizona athletes during the 1940s. That was its heyday. Its current owners acquired the bus after it had been left to rot in the desert for more than 30 years…

Event photography - Antique Chevy Sedan Bus at Dillinger Days in Downtown Tucson, Arizona

The highlight of Dillinger Days is the re-enactment of the gang’s stay at the Hotel Congress. Abundant seating is set up outside the hotel, and here are some smart people who arrived early…

Event photography - Mostly empty seating at Dillinger Days in Downtown Tucson, Arizona

I didn’t show up in time to get a seat. Hence, no re-enactment photos in this post.

One final point: Even though there’s still a lot of construction Downtown, a lot of things are open for business. Take, for example, Maynards Market and Kitchen, which is across Toole Avenue from Hotel Congress…

Architectural photography - Exterior of Maynards Market and Kitchen in Downtown Tucson, Arizona

I’ve done a lot of blogging about the weekly Meet Me at Maynards social run/walk around Downtown, and you can read those posts here.

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