More of the Rossmere

TheRossmereWhen last week you read about the Second Battle of Bunker Hill, did you really think that that was all that’d happened at the noble Rossmere? The Corinthian columns! Those dentils! Don’t they just scream Dope Addict Goes Berserk?

hottrannymessDecember 28, 1918. Juvenille officers were called to a vacant lot at First and Hope where young toughs were blasting away at tin cans with their air rifles. The two collared ringleaders were on their way to the station house when one of the youngsters tucked a lock of long hair under his cap…he being Miss Juanita Stuart, fourteen, of the Rossmere. She protested tearfully when her mother was instructed by officers to burn the costume of khaki trousers, flannel shirt and boy’s sweater, and to keep the young lady attired in feminine apparel only thereafter.

July 1, 1927. William Barrett, Rossmerian, had been arrested at the hotel by officers on Volstead violations and entered into evidence was one large bottle of gin. At Barrett’s trial the prosecuting attorney sought to clinch a conviction by producing said bottle, but, like a reversed wedding at Cana, a police property room at LAPD will turn gin into water.

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Barrett went back to the Rossmere a free man, thankful to the police for working a miracle.

deriguerSeptember 23, 1949. Lloyd E. Bitters, 82, a former shoplifter by trade, decided on September 5 of this year to stop eating. The fourteen-year resident of the Rossmere simply found life “no longer worth living,” which is reasonable enough (moreover recently-assassinated Gandhi had made fasting fashionable). But Bitters was descended upon by members of the Community Chest and the Salvation Army’s Golden Agers Club, who bundled him up and trundled him off to General Hosptial for psychiatric examination.

theFallSeptember 5, 1951. Whereas the Vanderbilt had a habit of killing children, the Rossmere saved them. Elena Bravo had warned her little Martha, seven, against playing on the third floor fire escape, but Martha didn’t listen and tumbled off, only to be caught by Mrs. Max Casados’ ground-floor clothesline. The child suffered a compound arm fracture, a less lamentable situation than another hotel would have afforded.

atleastitwasntbooszeSeptember 7, 1955. Fred H. Morales, 28, delivered a benediction of blood to six of his sleeping children. And after his sprinkler-like artery-opening anointing act, he beat down a door and chased his wife—she carrying their nine-month-old baby—and her parents into the street outside the Rossmere with a butcher knife. When the cops finally arrived at First and Hope they found Morales inside, having slashed his throat with a razor blade. He was taken to the prison ward at General Hospital.

The Second Battle of Bunker Hill

BattleofBH
The Battle of Bunker Hill, 1775, was fought with the smoothbore flintlock musket, the odd Jäger rifle, and muzzleloading cannon of ship and field. They also fought in formation, in the open, using the linear tactic—both sides (it’s a myth that during the Revolution the reb militia hid behind rocks and trees and picked off those Redcoats standing in a row). This was a thoroughly Enlightenment style engagement. The Second Battle of Bunker Hill, waged in 1957, evidences a devolution of society; its craven assault waged with the antiquated arrow. Hardly the shower of arrows we saw at Agincourt or Thermopylae, but still.

It’s April 25, 1957, and a demolition crew is hard at work tearing down “an ancient frame dwelling” at First and Hope streets. Charles Ousley, 25, is standing in the bed of a dump truck when an arrow whistles by. He alerts John Trott, 30, crew foreman, who picks up the feathered shaft and gazes upward.

BattleofBH
The Battle of Bunker Hill, 1775, was fought with the smoothbore flintlock musket, the odd Jäger rifle, and muzzleloading cannon of ship and field. They also fought in formation, in the open, using the linear tactic—both sides (it’s a myth that during the Revolution the reb militia hid behind rocks and trees and picked off those Redcoats standing in a row). This was a thoroughly Enlightenment style engagement. The Second Battle of Bunker Hill, waged in 1957, evidences a devolution of society; its craven assault waged with the antiquated arrow. Hardly the shower of arrows we saw at Agincourt or Thermopylae, but still.

It’s April 25, 1957, and a demolition crew is hard at work tearing down “an ancient frame dwelling” at First and Hope streets. Charles Ousley, 25, is standing in the bed of a dump truck when an arrow whistles by. He alerts John Trott, 30, crew foreman, who picks up the feathered shaft and gazes upward.

In a third-floor window of the Rossmere Apartments across the street, he saw a man with a five-foot bow.
theduartedepository
Police pounded up to the apartment but found the archer had flown as swiftly as had his arrow. Prefiguring Oswald’s abandoned Mannlicher-Carcano, authorities recover the bow in the room.

lighthousekeeping

That corner today—the 1980 Promenade condo complex:

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“This work is dangerous enough,” said Trott, “without somebody firing arrows at my men.”

Neighbors fingered the culprit as one Albert Duarte, 20. “He got tired of hearing that racket all day,” one of them explained.

“I’m tired of these prima donnas,” grumbled Trott.

Rossmere Apartments image courtesy Arnold Hylen Collection, California History Section, California State Library