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“A vital stop for Jesse James enthusiasts”

Northfield Historical Society
Ranked #1 of 10 things to do in Northfield
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: The Northfield Historical Society cares for the historic First National Bank building that the James-Younger Gang attempted to rob on September 7, 1876. The museum tells the story of the brave citizens who fought Jesse James and the other robbers leading to the end of the James-Younger Gang. During the weekend after Labor Day each year, a live reenactment of the bank robbery takes place on the street. Additional gallery space in the museum explores a variety of local history topics that make Northfield a unique mid-western town. **GUIDED BANK TOURS** daily tours Memorial Day - Labor Day; Saturday tours Apr-May and Sep-Nov.
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Wheelchair access
Reviewed 12 October 2013

I first read about Northfield in a Jesse James children's book when I was about 7. I was on the other side of the world, but never forgot about it. Almost 40 years later, I finally made it here - and am so glad I made the drive.

The museum curators - with a huge amount of luck on their side - have recreated the bank as it was on the day that the James-Younger gang tried to rob it in 1876. Everything is pretty much authentic, including the time-lock vault that vexed the raiders. You can also see the ledger showing the bank's handwritten transactions (the bank closed the day after, but reopened the following day).

A detailed gallery includes some of the guns used in the shootout, a saddle and other artifacts. We learn that one of the robbers killed in Northfield ended up on the dissection table and his bones were tossed in the river. Cole Younger eventually hit the lecture circuit, and we all know the fate that befell Jesse James.

The townsfolk are justly proud of their defense of the bank. You have to remember that deposits were not insured. If the gang had cleaned out the vault, the town might have withered away.

My only complaint is that I left the gift shop empty-handed. All I wanted was a contemporary postcard of the bank and/or a fridge magnet. No luck.

1  Thank dgdevil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"bank robbery"
in 15 reviews
"jesse james"
in 20 reviews
"come alive"
in 3 reviews
"gift shop"
in 7 reviews
"national bank"
in 2 reviews
"re enactment"
in 2 reviews
"short video"
in 2 reviews
"quick visit"
in 2 reviews
"high school"
in 2 reviews
"small museum"
in 2 reviews
"guided tour"
in 2 reviews
"on display"
in 2 reviews
"robbers"
in 6 reviews
"raid"
in 5 reviews
"guns"
in 5 reviews
"volunteers"
in 5 reviews
"souvenirs"
in 4 reviews
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46 - 50 of 56 reviews

Reviewed 1 August 2013

A very nice little talk/tour about the notorious Jesse James gang bank robbery in Northfield with great memorabilia and pictures. There was also a display of vintage band instruments to coincide with the Vintage Band Festival being held in town.

Thank Curly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 June 2013

History buffs will love this. A tour of james younger gangs hold up. Original building and many authentic artifacts from the event. Bullet scars to pistols. Its all here. The best part was our guide, who was dressed in period costume and gave us a very detailed tour of events. She really made it come alive. The whole town is one interesting thing after another. Great for architect students.
Want to see iteresting buildings - its here, An old mill - yep, Great flower display - see the college,
Cool hidden italian restaurant, thats here too, just too much to list.

2  Thank mpt98
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 May 2013

This museum has come a long way from when I was a girl. The museum itself is fascinating. It includes a carefully reconstructed bank teller's counter of faux wood grain, (back in the day, hiring an artist to paint pine to look like oak was cheaper than buying the oak!) and the original bank safe so heroically guarded by Joseph Lee Heywood. There is a wonderful display of photographs and artifacts and a short video explaining the events leading up to the fateful day when Jesse James and his gang met their match with the citizens of Northfield. There is a wonderful gift shop with a most interesting selection of old-fashioned toys, books for all ages, t-shirts and more. Plan ahead and do your Christmas shopping here.

1  Thank AngleWoman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 31 October 2012

The actual bank the James - Younger Gang's attempted to rob on September 7, 1876. Lots of actual artifacts from the attempted robbery. The downtown area around the bank is also historical, with a lot of very nice shops to visit! This is a do not miss stop!!

Thank Danny U
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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