Black Dahlia: What Is the Address of the Crime Scene?

I received a query yesterday from someone at Los Angeles magazine wanting to know the address on South Norton Avenue where the body of Elizabeth Short was found.

The crime scene is usually given as “39th and Norton,” the nearest cross streets, which appears in the original news reports and was picked up by James Ellroy in “The Black Dahlia.” In fact, years ago, one poor soul wrote an Internet post – in a very poor imitation of the hard-boiled style – about flying into LAX, renting a car and driving to 39th and Norton, assuming that he had been at the spot where the body of Elizabeth Short was found. And of course, he missed it entirely.

As I told this individual from Los Angeles magazine, I never give out the address due to consideration for the homeowners. The place where Elizabeth Short was found is now someone’s frontyard.

I have always been wary of giving out the address, but having some fringe dweller from the Cacophony Society lie down in the grass for a picture during a tour years ago (after we told people to behave themselves) confirmed my resolution to never tell anybody where it is.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1947, Black Dahlia, History and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Black Dahlia: What Is the Address of the Crime Scene?

  1. Louis says:

    This makes me think about another famous L.A. murder scene, the address in Brentwood where the Simpson-Goldman killings occurred in 1994. I lived in the area for a while in 1995-1996 and there were people taking pictures there constantly. If I’d bought that house the first order of business would have been to bulldoze it and pretend the murders happened somewhere else.


  2. Eve says:

    I wonder if the sellers of the house are legally obligated to mention to potential buyers, “Oh, and by the way . . .”


    • lmharnisch says:

      That’s required in California — which means anyone who buys the Sowden House must be told it was Dr. George “Evil Genius” Hodel’s purported Murder HQ. Of course, there is nothing to show anybody was ever killed there, but the folklore about that house abounds.


  3. JAMES says:

    The O.J. murder scene was not far from the house where George “Superman” Reeves killed himself. Another tourist magnet.


    • Justin says:

      They’re not really close either. Will take you a solid 20 minutes at most times of the day, especially as you have to go past the 405 then onto Bundy.


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