A Hold-Up in Holyoke Club

by Laurel | March 7th, 2012

05 March 1905

Robber Fires Revolver Shot
Two Men Rob Cash Register at National Monument Club Rooms

Holyoke experienced a Wild West holdup in one of its club rooms last evening, calculated to make its citizens rub their eyes with astonishment. Two unknown men, their faces concealed with handkerchiefs, entered the room of the Holyoke National Monument Club in the Monument building at the corner of Appleton and Main Streets, about 10:30, holding up the bartender and those present at the points of their pistols, robbed the cash register and departed without making their identity known. At a late hour last night they were still at large, though the police of the entire city were notified by the telephone service to be on the watch and special officers were searching for them.

It was shortly before 10:30 that the bartender Joseph Ouimet, was watching a game of cards at a table near the rear door. At this table were seated Peter Romeau, Alcide Chartier, Peter St. Murray and Walter Laremeaux and C. Duhamel. Henry Barre was standing at the side, these and the bartender being the only people present at the time. Without warning two men, wearing old slouch hats, their faces concealed by blue handkerchiefs, and wearing long overcoats entered the room. The taller of the two took his station by the door and the shorter man started in the direction of the cash register. It was the taller man who spoke, “Shove out against the wall,” pointing a revolver at the men. Then turning to Ouimet, he exclaimed, “Hand up, now. If you move I will shoot.” “Don’t” said Ouimet. Meanwhile the shorter robber had gone to the cash register, and was rifling it. Ouimet at this point grabbed Henry Barre and dashed toward the side door, which opens on Appleton Street. They opened the door and had just got outside, when the robber at at the cash register had just turned about and shot at the fleeing men. The bullet smashed the glass of the door about three feet from the floor, and one of the flying hits of glass cut a gash in the left hand of Ouimet. Almost immediately the robber rushed toward his companion and the two made their escape through the door.

The register was about 15 feet from this door, he bar being located in the southeast corner of the room, which is about 25 by 50 feet in size. There is another entrance off of the main ball, which also leads to Appleton street, and is more generally used by the club members and their friends. The door from which Ouimet and Barre escaped is kept locked and not generally used. The side of the hole made by the bullet through the curtain would indicate a 25 caliber. The men were so excited that they were unable to give a detailed description of the intruders, one of them saying last night that the revolver looked to him like a small cannon. Ouimet telephoned to the police at once and the alarm was sent out to the patrolmen to be on the watch. The occurrence created a great deal of excitement and the clubroom was well filled the later part of the evening. Only between $2 and $3 was taken from the register, it being thought by the men present that Ouimet escape and that he would give the alarm at once prevented the robber from completing his work. The whole affair was said by one of the men to have lasted but a few seconds. “If it had not been for the bullet hole in the door, I might have almost believed I dreamt it,” said one of those present. When the men at the table were ordered to move to the wall they made no move, but sat back in their chairs almost paralyzed with astonishment, holding their cards in their hands. The robber who covered them made no further comment because they did not obey his ordered. as soon as the robbers fled all those present went out in a hurry excepting Peter Romeau, who remained to look out for the club property. This hold-up is quite the boldest thing which the city has experienced for many years. The escape of Ouimet and his companions was a narrow one, and had the robber been directly in front of the door, one or the other would have received the bullet.

Adapted from The Springfield Republican.

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