Baby-Face Nelson needed a place to stay…
Nelson and his cohabitants—debonair bank robber John Dillinger, homicidal clown Homer Van Meter, Canadian cutthroat John Hamilton, and boxer-turned-badman Tommy Carroll—had settled in for the night when FBI watchdog Melvin Purvis arrived and opened fire on the building. As the lead rain thundered, the others slipped away without ring a shot. But Baby didn’t like to be bothered. He returned fire before burrowing into the brush, hijacking a car at a nearby home, and killing Special Agent Carter W. Baum. The stolen ride broke down on County Road H near Boulder Junction. And that’s how the outlaw ended up on foot at dawn, stumbling out of Powell Marsh to behold his next place of refuge: a three-room, red-framed cottage sitting serenely on the shore of White Sand Lake—the cabin of Ollie Catfish.
Ollie was a Chippewa elder. Along with his wife, Maggie, and niece, Mary Schroeder, he spent the spring season manufacturing maple syrup. Over the next few days Nelson stayed with the Catfishes. He chopped wood, tapped maple trees, and—under the pillow of his cot—hid the three guns he’d brought with him. The odd quartet discussed everything from family to religion as Nelson laid low and recharged.
Today that charming little hideaway continues to welcome guests.