J.B. & J.J. McNamara
In April of 1912 the Meyerhof was the site of a rendezvous and overnight accommodations between two International Association of Bridge and Structural Iron Workers union members, J.B. McNamara and Ortie McManigal.
These two were among the conspirators behind, and executors of, a series of bombings of non-union ironworks, anti-labor institutions, and people — including the October 1910 bombing of the Los Angeles Times Building. Though the goal of these bombings was not to kill or injure, but rather draw attention to the cause of labor and engage those opposed to it, the bomb at the LA Times went off earlier than the planned 4:00am due to a faulty timer, resulting in the death of 21 newspaper employees. It took authorities a year and a half from the time of the LA bombing till the arrests in Detroit to gather enough evidence to implicate J.B. McNamara and his brother J.J.
After they departed the Meyerhof, J.B. McNamara and McManigal, trailed by a private detective and police, took a train from Toledo to Detroit where they were arrested for the Los Angeles bombing. Their suitcases contained explosives, and they had been previously implicated as conspiring and readying to bomb various locations in Detroit. McManigal, also a key figure in the bombings, later struck a plea deal; however, the McNamara brothers stood a sensational trial, defended by famed labor and criminal attorney Clarence Darrow.
Read more about the bombings and history of Hotel Royal in the book Deadly Times by Lew Irwin
Up Next: The Scissors