Daily Archives: March 10, 2014

archival bonds

irish brooch 3    I keep hitting PUBLISH  accidently . That’s an annoying thing to do . I can’t , then , figure out how to UNPUBLISH  right then and there so I hit  TRASH .  I hate to hit TRASH  because then the paragraphs written , and any photos chosen , are instantly gone , and they are not trash , after all . Maybe they’re not yet proofread , re- written , honed and polished . But , I’d hate to consider them , and I don’t , trash .

Not that I haven’t written trash . Oh ,  no . Once in awhile I finish an entire post , let it ferment for a day or so , re-read it , and push the TRASH button .  Gone !   I’m sure there is a TRASH  pile somewhere with all my TRASHed pieces there , sitting and fuming , harboring pernicious thoughts , planning escape , staging hunger strikes in the meantime , plotting chicanery , clandestinely fashioning crude weapons  from whatever materials are at hand .

I’d free one or two or a few , maybe , of those pieces if I knew how , if I knew , really , where they’d gone . They were innocent , after all , accidently imprisoned . To the Devil’s Island of blogs , I guess , the Alcatraz-like destination for the insidious crime of  percolation of  persiflage although  perhaps negligently perpetrated , but , nevertheless with intercontinental impact . That’s  Special Circumstance …….

But , I digress .

I wrote something about my investigation of the cop murder here in Arcadia in 1927 . I had three or four paragraphs down on paper —– well , on  paper only figuratively . Actually there they were  under a rectangle of glass — not a window —- framed in metal . There they were riding , somehow , on the lid of my laptop , stuck to the screen  , not sliding down . Sticking there , calm but ready to move at any moment . I would be in extreme tension if I were one of them , if I were any of those letters or punctuation marks , not knowing what might come next . Shift !  The next letter deleted . Backspace . The previous word gone , only to be instantly replaced with another .  Too much anxiety for me , too much stress of uncertainty !  We have to give those words and marks credit , I think , for incomparable courage , for bravery exhibited in the heat of battle ……

But I digress .

One of the three boys sitting in the stolen Ford Touring car had made a statement , reported in the Evening Herald , or was it the L.A. Times , that they had been parked in front ” of a barbecue joint ” that they intended to rob because they had heard it was ” easy pickin’s” .

So , what barbecue joint ? Can’t trust everything you read in the papers .   The current Arcadia cops say the barbecue joint was a place called The Wigwam . The Wigwam was about two blocks away from where the car was parked . Seemed a little too far away to me to have the  ” parked next to ” statement make sense .

So I checked with  the city building department . What building was on the corner next to the murder scene in 1927 ?  The building department had digitalized their files . That corner was missing , though —- no record what , if anything , was there .

The cops say the boys intended to rob The Wigwam , but , besides being so far away from the murder scene , the place wasn’t called The Wigwam until 1931 . The murder happened in  1927 .  And , from photos of the place in 1927 , I’m pretty sure there was no barbecue . They sold wicker furniture , fruit juice , and vegetables . Maybe there was a barbecue joint there too , but I doubt it .

The Arcadia librarian who handles the historical collection told me that the boys planned to rob a place called O’Dettes  over on Huntington . Huntington is a quarter mile or so away . No way . I wondered where this information came from and then I saw it written in the court file as part of the defense counsel’s request for instruction to the jury . That’s where the librarian got it .  It’s still misleading . No , they weren’t planning a robbery over on Huntington .  I’ll tell you how I know .

I was paging through Arcadia City Council minutes for 1927 to 1931 . Oh , yeah , they have them available for  odd nosy birds  to peruse . It seems the city was widening that part of Foothill Bl in 1929 . Those who owned lots on Foothill were listed , in order . They had quitclaimed , for $10 each , enough of their land so the city could install a pipeline . The guy who owned the corner lot in question , the one next to where the murder took place , was named Robt. Jensen .buick 1925 2

Page ahead to 1931 .  The Council minutes list applicants for  liquor licenses .since Prohibition was done . One of them is Robt. Jensen . His business is listed : Walker Barbecue . Same corner ! That’s got to be the barbecue joint they were parked in front of and planned to rob .

For those of you following my rambling blog  , maybe you noticed my reference to court documents (above) . I wrote a couple of posts about unsuccessfully hunting down the court documents at Superior Court Archives , etc .  I was told that what I had requested was ” confidential ” . I was told this , and I was told that . And then I saw the stack of court records on the librarian’s desk . In 1996 the chief librarian had , evidently , written for them . The head honcho of Superior Court Records had simply sent them to her accompanied by a nice letter signed :  ” Yours in Archival Bond , ”   .  Sweet , eh ?


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