A little bird sent us the above holiday card, issued from the magical Mount Kalmia seven years before the estate, overlooking the Sunset Strip, was the site of an especially seedy real estate scam. Somehow we doubt Johnny Depp has managed to preserve the landscaping…
April 26, 1907
Thomas Cash, State Deputy Treasurer of the Woodmen of the World, was sleeping in his room at 852 Stephenson Avenue early this morning when awakened by a rustling in his adjoining office. Cash armed himself with what was nearest—a sturdy shoe—and advanced on the burglar, who fled, but Cash gave chase. Cornering the housebreaker at the end of the hall, Cash dealt a fearsome blow to the intruder’s face with his shoe. From there they grappled and struggled and rolled onto the rear porch, where the burglar made a wild leap sixteen feet into the back yard and, after having to clamber over a barbed-wire topped fence, disappeared. As a relic of the desperate battle, Cash has the collar and shirt front of the burglar. Other than that, Cash came away without so much as a scratch.
April 24, 1947
When Antoine Busier agreed to purchase eleven trays of golden trinkets for $197.60 from the Elgin National Jewelry Company of Illinois, he thought he was getting a fine bargain. It was only after he had taken possession of the gewgaws that he began to suspect he might have been taken.
He addressed an inquiry to the celebrated Elgin National Watch Company to confirm that he was dealing with so esteemed a firm… only to discover that they did not offer gold collar buttons of the sort he had obtained, and further that they knew nothing of the agent who had sealed the deal.
Antoine Busier had made two payments at this stage; he did not extend the third. The Elgin Jewelry Company subsequently assigned the debt to F. R. Robertson, and it was he who met Busier in the courtroom of Superior Court Judge Wilbur today to demand the remaining $98.80, plus court costs.
Busier suggested to Judge Wilbur that the items might not truly be gold, freeing him of the obligation to complete the purchase. Accordingly, the Judge sent out for a bath of muriatic acid, and dropped a few of the shining pieces into the liquid. The golden surface bubbled briefly, then fell away, revealing plain metal below.
The case continues tomorrow, but courtroom observers suspect it will fall in Busier’s favor.
April 15, 1907
As criminality reaches epidemic proportions in sleepy Pasadena, the citizenry grumbles about Chief Pinkham’s skills as police head, and makes noises about replacing him.
The latest outrage was visited upon George Syer, a public carriage driver who was called out to 876 Lincoln Avenue this evening, ostensibly to take some women to a train. The address should have been found north of Mountain, in an unlit area. He did not find the house, but while looking was acosted by a man with a thick Irish brogue who demanded his money. Syer parted with a dollar in change, but kept the contents of his other pocket. No mention was made of a weapon being brandished, but it is well known that one can’t be too careful with Irishmen!
April 29, 1947 Hollywood
We interrupt our regularly scheduled turn of the century to follow up on one of the more striking cases from the first year of the 1947project, the attempted carjack and kidnapping of Ginevra (note corrected spelling, though she prefered to be known as Ginger) Knight, an 18-year-old war widow who surprised her would-be kidnapper Thomas Housos by having a gun of her own that she wasn’t at all shy about using.
We were recently contacted by Ms. Knight’s son Ian, who was a toddler in the house on Courtney Avenue at the time of the fatal incident, and who wanted to share with our readers some images of his brave mama.
It’s always interesting to hear from the family members of people featured in our stories, and we’ve been fortunate that everyone we’ve heard from has recognized that our aims are not exploitative. In this particular case, we were startled to hear not only from the children of the victim, but from the son of the attempted kidnapper who she killed, as well. Just a little reminder from the universe that these shocking incidents leave ripples that flow outward for many decades, leaving wounds and curiosity in those who come after.
Thank you, Ian Knight, for the photo gallery that follows. And here’s to Ginger Knight, who courageously faced her would-be kidnapper’s brother in court, and made quite a life for herself in the years that followed. RIP, brave lady.
ABOVE: 1515 Courtney Ave., circa 1947. At right, the driveway where Housos grabbed Knight.
ABOVE: Ginger (top) at work with a friend, BELOW: the New Elysian Theater marquee
BELOW: The inquest
ABOVE: Wee Ian Knight, with Dee.
BTW, Ian let us in on a little secret… Ginger was carrying her gun that night, and she didn’t have to go into the living room to get it, despite what she told the police. You see, she carried the theater receipts home every night, since the banks were closed. Maybe Thomas Housos knew she was carrying lots of cash. Anyway, she wasn’t about to lose it, and she didn’t.
BELOW: Ginger at the helm of the fishing boat she later built by hand
March 27, 1907
After visiting her Chinese husband in the County Jail, Mrs. Yee Lung (also called Mrs. Frank Chew) spoke of her intention to join her beloved as he was deported, and to travel with him in the train car packed with forty other Chinese deportees for the trip up to San Francisco.
Special permission has been granted by the U.S. Marshall for her to ride with her husband. They will immediately board a boat to Hong Kong, and the woman may never again see her white friends relatives in this country.
Mrs. Lung’s friends have pleaded with her to reconsider, but she insists "I trust my husband implicitly… he wouldn’t go without me, and I wouldn’t be so cruel as to ask him to."