Ted Hinton’s Motor Lodge — From Bonnie & Clyde to Motel Heliport

hintons-motor-lodge_front“7 miles from Downtown Dallas” — choppers welcome (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

What does a man who ambushed and killed Bonnie and Clyde do once he’s retired from law enforcement? He opens a motor lodge, of course!

I was initially drawn to this image because of an unexplained lifelong fascination with Howard Johnson’s restaurants (I think I was only ever in one — the one on Mockingbird at Central, where my father introduced me to the inexplicable root beer float). But the interesting thing about this postcard is not the HoJo’s, it’s the motel next door, Hinton’s Motor Lodge, an establishment that was in business from 1955 to 1970, in Irving, very near to where Texas Stadium would be built in 1971 (Loop 12 at Hwy. 183). Why would a motor lodge be interesting? Because the owner was Ted Hinton (1904-1977), the former Dallas County Deputy Sheriff who was one of the six men who tracked down, ambushed, and killed Bonnie and Clyde in 1934. (Hinton was recruited for the posse because he would be able to identify both of them: he had known Clyde Barrow growing up, and he had apparently had a crush on Bonnie Parker in the days when she was working as a waitress and he was working for the post office.)

After killing two of the most notorious celebrity outlaws of all-time, it must have been hard to know where to turn next. He retired from the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department in 1941 and, as he was a pilot, he trained flyers for the US Army Air Corps during WWII. The fact that Hinton was a pilot MUST explain the inclusion of a “heliport” (!) in the list of motel amenities, alongside Beauty Rest mattresses, a swimming pool, and a playground for the kids.

I’m sure that, on occasion, Hinton ate next door at Howard Johnson’s. But I bet none of the other patrons had any idea that the guy sipping coffee in the next booth was one of the men who gunned down Bonnie and Clyde in a hail of gunfire that even Sam Peckinpah might have considered “a bit much.”

Aerial View of Hinton's Motor Lodge Dallas




An interesting short video about Ted Hinton’s connections to Bonnie and Clyde in his youth is recounted here by Hinton’s son “Boots.”

And a newsreel featuring film footage of the aftermath of the ambush — and apparently shot by Hinton himself with a 16mm movie camera loaned to him by a Dallas Times Herald photographer — can be seen here.


Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.