Georgette Bauerdorf: An Unsolved Murder, Part 2

The crime scene, 8493 Fountain Ave., via The Times Mapping L.A. Project.

Surveys have shown that most L.A. Daily Mirror readers live in Los Angeles or at least in Southern California, so the majority will already know this. I’m including what follows for those who don’t live in California and are either unfamiliar with the local landscape and find it confusing, or have misconceptions about it.

The reason I’m dealing with Los Angeles geography is because Georgette Bauerdorf was killed in the Greater Los Angeles area, but not in the city of Los Angeles, which means it wasn’t under the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Georgette Bauerdorf, an Unsolved Murder:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15 | Part 16 | Part 17 | Part 18 | Part 19 | Part 20 | Part 21Part 22 | Part 23 | Part 24 | Part 25 | Part 26 | Part 27 | Part 28 | Part 29 | Part 30 | Part 31

Los Angeles is frequently and erroneously described as so many suburbs in search of a city. The best way to understand California is to elevate every government entity by one level: Think of California as a nation; think of every county as a state; then think of every city as a county. In other words, because of its size, the Greater Los Angeles area is a patchwork of civic entities.  There is no search for a city. Instead, there are multiple cities that are staunchly independent.

First, there is the incorporated City of Los Angeles, which includes many neighborhoods. Some neighborhoods began as separate cities and were annexed by Los Angeles, such as Eagle Rock. Other neighborhoods are merely the invention of shrewd real estate developers who want to make some cosmetic changes in what would otherwise being an unappealing area. This phenomenon especially flourishes in the vast stretches of the San Fernando Valley, where, within a few blocks, one can be in Studio City, Valley Village, Valley Glen, North Hollywood or Sherman Oaks.

Second, there are other municipalities such as Pasadena, Glendale, Burbank, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Redondo Beach, El Segundo, Inglewood, Compton, Long Beach, etc. Even longtime Angelenos may find this confusing, especially in the case of the City of San Fernando, which is entirely surrounded by the City of Los Angeles.  Each of the cities has its own mayor, City Council, and most important, its own Police Department.

Note: Some of these small cities are unequipped to handle a major investigation, which is why they are turned over to the Sheriff’s Department. A good example is the killing Geneva Ellroy in the city of El Monte, which was handled by the Sheriff’s Department. In other instances, such as Compton, a city has disbanded its police department and contracts for law enforcement with the Sheriff’s Department.

And then there are parts of the Greater Los Angeles area that never incorporated and remain the jurisdiction of Los Angeles County.

A good example from the historic period is Gilmore Island, the old nickname for the area around Farmers Market at Beverly Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue, a parcel of unincorporated land in the middle of the City of Los Angeles that was annexed in the late 1940s.

Which brings us to West Hollywood, which incorporated in November 1984 and was described at its founding as ”America’s First Gay City.”

At the time of the killing, Georgette Bauerdorf’s apartment at 8493 Fountain Ave. was in unincorporated West Hollywood. Because the killing occurred under county jurisdiction, the investigation was handled by the Sheriff’s Department.   (So no one can ask: “Did the LAPD handle this case?”)  This means an entirely different cast of characters from the familiar LAPD homicide detectives of the 1940s: Harry Hansen, Finis Brown and Harry Fremont, etc.

To be continued.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1944, Cold Cases, Homicide and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Georgette Bauerdorf: An Unsolved Murder, Part 2

  1. Eve says:

    This is fascinating–I tried to do a book on the unsolved Dot King murder here in New York, but no publisher was interested. Should have said my father did it!


  2. Mary Mallory says:

    Hey! I find Studio City/North Hollywood/Toluca Lake to be an appealing area!


  3. B.J. Merholz says:

    While your map is up, I might make a correction of what the designation of Sunset Strip has come to mean. This map of West Hollywood was unincorporated Los Angeles County territory known as the Sunset Strip. It ran from approximately La Brea Avenue to Doheny Drive and seldom much more that a block or two on either side of Santa Monica Blvd. with Sunset Blvd bordering much of its northern edge. The hub of this area, centered around what is now the County Sheriff’s station at Santa Monica and San Vicente Blvds, was called Sherman. The celebrity might clubs and eateries were up on Sunset Blvd, in a few blocks to the east, between La Cienega and Sunset Plaza Dr. Georgette’s apartment must have been about two blocks down La Cienega from Ciro’s nightclub.

    Celebrity media began referring to the few blocks between Ciro’s and the Mocambo as the Strip, and somewhere in the last seventy years, the longer stretch between the old Schwab’s Pharmacy at Crescent Heights and the new Whisky A Go-Go at Sunset and Clark St, now named as an extension of San Vicente, became known as the Sunset Strip.

    But to some, the Sunset Strip is still that homely, overlooked stretch starting at La Brea. Fountain Avenue has always been its human center and soul, and Georgette Bauerdorf’s story is one of so many that could be told.


  4. Pingback: Georgette Bauerdorf, an Unsolved Murder, Part 31 |

  5. Pingback: Georgette Bauerdorf, an Unsolved Murder, Part 30 |

  6. Pingback: Georgette Bauerdorf, an Unsolved Murder, Part 29 |

  7. Pingback: Georgette Bauerdorf, an Unsolved Murder, Part 28 |

  8. Pingback: Georgette Bauerdorf, an Unsolved Murder, Part 27 |

  9. Pingback: Georgette Bauerdorf, an Unsolved Murder, Part 26 |

  10. Pingback: Georgette Bauerdorf, an Unsolved Murder, Part 25 |

  11. Pingback: Georgette Bauerdorf, an Unsolved Murder, Part 24 |

  12. Pingback: Georgette Bauerdorf, an Unsolved Murder, Part 22 |

  13. Pingback: Georgette Bauerdorf, an Unsolved Murder, Part 17 |

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