Monday, May 11, 2020

Gresham Street House


A visual perspective of Gresham Street might be helpful when attempting to put things together that are related to the Manson Family.

We obtained some aerial photos of the Gresham Street house and its surroundings taken after the murders and, I believe, at the time Shorty’s car was found.  Mary Brunner was questioned on December 4, 1969 in Eau Claire, Wisconsin by Det. Sgt. Paul Whiteley.  She told Whiteley that Tex told her “they” had killed Shorty and ditched his car near the old Gresham Street address.  Law enforcement went to the Gresham Street address and located Shorty’s missing car rather quickly.  It was a stone’s throw from the old Gresham Street house.


Gresham Street was a dirt road back then.

A report dated 10-21-70 states the following:

The undersigned proceeded to the Gresham Street address and around the corner at 8864 Independence, the vehicle was observed, apparently abandoned due to heavy layers of dust and rain spots. A latent print deputy was called and Deputy P. Chamousie responded. The vehicle was impounded and dusted for prints which were lifted from a foot locker in the trunk and later identified as the palm prints of Bruce Davis. The vehicle contained numerous clothing, a foot locker with the name "Donald James Shea" and personal effects. The vehicle was impounded at the Calabasses Garage. This vehicle was registered to Barbara P. Enfield, 12121 LaMaida, North Hollywood, California. Miss Enfield was subsequently contacted by Deputy Guenther and stated she had sold the vehicle to Donald Jerome Shea approximately May 1969.

Here is a Google map of how the area looks today.  The address where the car was found, 8864 Independence Avenue is marked.  The Gresham Street house is no longer there and has been replaced by apartment buildings.  It also appears that the street has been re-numbered.  Gresham Street is only two blocks long.

As far as the report’s statement that Miss Enfield was contacted by Deputy Guenther, it didn’t happen.  Barbara Enfield died July 18, 1969.  However, Miss Enfield’s son, John, was contacted and stated that he was the person who sold his mother’s car to Shorty after her death.   As an aside, Barbara Enfield was an actress better known as Barbara Pepper.   



Now, here is the aerial photo of the area showing “Vance’s House”, an X with the initials LS house in black marking pen.  In blue ball point pen to the left of the other markings is another X and illegible letters which is where Shorty’s car was found.  The initials LS denote Lee Saunooke.




Here is another aerial, this time showing Vance’s house, marked with black marker in the center of the D in the watermark.  At the bottom of the photo is LS house, again denoting Lee Saunooke’s home.



The Gresham Street house had a main house in front, a much smaller house at the back of the property and a number of chicken coops in the yard with a large garage up front next to the main house.

More pictures of the house taken by law enforcement.




This is a photo of Shorty’s car where it was found.  Shorty’s car is not the VW bug!



These next two photos were in the San Fernando Valley Times, December 11, 1969.




18 comments:

Matthew said...

The lady that Shorty bought his car from was Mrs Ziffel on Green Acres.

starviego said...

Came across this odd reference, for what it's worth:

Heroes and Villains, The True Story of the Beach Boys, by Steven Gaines c.1986
pg214
When it got too cold at the unheated Spahn Ranch, Manson and the Family moved, too--to a two story house on Gresham Street in Canoga Park, where they would prepare for Helter-Skelter. .... Dennis(Wilson) later told friends he visited Tex Watson in this apartment and smelled a terrible stench. When he asked Watkins* what it was, Watkins told him there was a "dead body" in the closet. Dennis thought he was joking.

*Is the author confusing Watson and Watkins?

Mr. Humphrat said...

Hmm Star Viego, he must have meant Watson I would think(?) by the way it's written.

Thanks Deb., of course this neighborhood and house were not how I pictured. I get the feeling from the overhead photos and one photo that show relatively modern looking apartment adjacent that Gresham was an old, soon to be developed neighborhood.

Makes me wonder yet again why Watson wasn't charged in the Shea murder

Matthew said...

Starviego said:
*Is the author confusing Watson and Watkins?

That sounds more like something that Watson would say. I don't think that Watkins would be that nonchalant about a dead body. I don't know who's body that could have been and how reliable that source is.

DebS said...

I agree, the author probably meant Watson, not Watkins. There's a quite a bit of misinformation when it comes to the Beach Boys and what Dennis supposedly said or did. The official Beach Boy narrative would have us believe that Dennis cut ties with Manson in August 1968 but we know that's not true.

https://www.mansonblog.com/2017/01/when-did-dennis-wilson-finally-sever.html

Mike Love in his book "Good Vibrations" claimed (Dennis) "Wilson, according to Love, allegedly replied, “I just saw Charlie take his M16 and blow this black cat [guy] in half and stuff him down the well.”

We know that's not true either because there are pictures showing the wells at Spahn being checked for remains when they were looking for Shorty. They can be found at the Los Angeles Public Library website in their photo collection.

DebS said...

Mr. Humphrat, me too! I didn't expect the neighborhood to have been so rural. It's easier to understand what the draw was for being there, it was pretty darn private.

orwhut said...

Matthew,
I told a fellow Green Acres fan about Doris Ziffel's son selling her car. He wanted to know if I meant Arnold, the pig.

grimtraveller said...

Matthew said...

That sounds more like something that Watson would say

I don't think it sounds remotely like anything Watson would say, certainly not as early as early 1969. We don't have the slightest evidence of Tex saying anything like that in those days. It's actually out of character for any member of the Family at that point in time.

DebS said...

There's a quite a bit of misinformation when it comes to the Beach Boys and what Dennis supposedly said or did

That's for sure.
Come to think of it, was Tex even ever at Gresham ? He says he left the Family on the last day of '68 ~ before they'd moved into Gresham ~ and when he came back from his sojourn, he went to Spahn. As with much concerning those days, there's contradictions for breakfast because Dianne Lake places him there and Paul Watkins kind of does.

Mr. Humphrat said...

Makes me wonder yet again why Watson wasn't charged in the Shea murder

No evidence. Even Mary's Brunner's words didn't prove anything. There was no independent corroboration to prove Tex was there. All he had to do was say "what the hell is she chatting about ?"
LA county said that there was no point in pursuing Tex once he had been convicted of the TLB murders. It's doubtful they would have had a case anyway, particularly with Mary Brunner being so unreliable after the Bobby Beausoleil/Gary Hinman testimony/immunity affair

Mr. Humphrat said...

Mr Grim what was the corroborating evidence that those who WERE charged were at the scene of the Shea murder.
"contradictions for breakfast" I can always rely on Grim for a fun phrase.

I looked up Barbara Pepper and she was described on IMDB as being a stock worldly woman in the 40s. She looked pretty good in the photo.

grimtraveller said...

Mr. Humphrat said...

what was the corroborating evidence that those who WERE charged were at the scene of the Shea murder

That's a really good question and I was wondering about that when I was thinking about Mary Brunner telling detective Whiteley about Tex.
With Charlie, there was evidence from Ruby Pearl {either Shorty getting into a car with Charlie and a group or them crowding him, I can't recall which}, Babs Hoyt {overhearing Charlie saying that Shorty had committed suicide with help from him and his group plus the screams she claims to have heard at night which sort of fitted Ruby's testimony as what she'd seen was at night} and Paul Watkins {talking about what Clem and Charlie told him about killing Shorty}. It was circumstantial but coming from three independent directions was felt to be quite solid, especially when added to what Danny DeCarlo told police.
What sunk Clem was partly what had come from Paul Watkins and what sunk Bruce was the finding of his palm prints on either Shorty's car or the footlocker in Shorty's car after the police were told the car had been abandoned and it was found with bloody boots within. Bruce disappearing for almost a year didn't exactly help him either.
It's interesting that Gypsy wasn't charged in any kind of accessory rap, given that she admitted she'd dumped the car.

DebS said...

Mr Humphrat, read through the police report at cielodrive.com. Many people were told either by Bruce Davis, Steve Grogan or Manson that they killed Shorty. Keep clicking on the links at the bottom of the page to read through the whole thing. It's comparable to Cliff Notes of the trial.

https://www.cielodrive.com/donald-shorty-shea-homicide-report-10-21-70.php

Gorodish said...

starviego typed:

Heroes and Villains, The True Story of the Beach Boys, by Steven Gaines c.1986
pg214
When it got too cold at the unheated Spahn Ranch, Manson and the Family moved, too--to a two story house on Gresham Street in Canoga Park, where they would prepare for Helter-Skelter. .... Dennis(Wilson) later told friends he visited Tex Watson in this apartment and smelled a terrible stench. When he asked Watkins* what it was, Watkins told him there was a "dead body" in the closet. Dennis thought he was joking.

*Is the author confusing Watson and Watkins?


When I saw this post I dug out my old 1986 paperback of "Heroes and Villains". In my book, this anecdote about Tex and the stench is an asterisk-marked footnote at the bottom of page 213. Eleven pages before, on page 202, it reads:
According to Paul "Tex" Watson, Manson's second-in-command and procurer of young girls, Everything was done at Charlie's direction". And: Watson told police "He'd set it all up in a beautiful way like he was creating a masterpiece in sculpture"
There is no mention in the book of the surname Watkins; just Watson. Paul "Tex" Watson is obviously Paul Watkins, and the "body in the apartment" story was probably supposed to be about Tex, but was an obvious bullshit story spun from someone who "heard it from Dennis" (who died in December 1983). As much as I like the book, The Manson/Dennis chapter suffers from dubious sources and somewhat crappy research.

orwhut said...

"He'd set it all up in a beautiful way like he was creating a masterpiece in sculpture".

The above uses words similar to those spoken by Paul "Watkins" in Robert Hendrickson's films.

Mr. Humphrat said...

Thanks Deb and Grim. I read it.

Fayez Abedaziz said...

When I read this fine, informative article with the rare pics, I began to think (that's scary right there) about something I read and I broke out laughing:
oh yeah, it reminded me of Paul Watkins book, obviously written by the other fella that's credited there, as Paul said this and that.
I laugh cause Paul tells us he was standing and looking over Topanga Canyon blah blah, then later he takes us to a house he walked up to and so, he met the gang.
Inside, there was one, then another miss American pie and they said brother we'll sing and he smelled some pot in the air and they had sex. Ha
That girl looks fifteen and that skinny one says 'whatever' and he said, well, these people are free love. Later, some of 'em said they believe in god above and Paul went from hippie guy to sitting in studios with 'the man.' Ain't life just so freakin' grand? Hypocrite.
One extreme to the other. Sorta like barefoot sweaty Susan runnin' round (and making love on the ground) and then she's glamour girl with pink lipstick and coulda been in the restaurant at a Hyatt Grand. Paul tells us that they said things like all is 'one' and the word the 'soul'
and they called a house the 'yellow submarine.' Phrases taken from some pop songs, nothing original and then here, I will tell you, those freaks were hanging around and they could be considered as accessories to murder but oh no, later on we were supposed to admire the stupid phony asses even though they knew and helped cover up the thefts and also, the murders of August 8 and 9.
I'm glad these places the not so cool bunch hung around are gone and Paul left out
some of which he knew he just didn't tell it all.
And the girls were kinda lost in the head and the guys were un-good looking, hell, you'd think there woulda been at least one that was, well, at least almost as good looking as say, Jimmy Page or Paul James McCartney, the fellas from Britain.
Or Elvis, our own best voice singing, that was then. Are you diggin'? What!

Gorodish said...

grimtraveller typed:

Come to think of it, was Tex even ever at Gresham? He says he left the Family on the last day of '68 ~ before they'd moved into Gresham ~ and when he came back from his sojourn, he went to Spahn. As with much concerning those days, there's contradictions for breakfast because Dianne Lake places him there and Paul Watkins kind of does.

This is from Tex's own book, WYDFM :
There was a lot of confusion in those first weeks in March when I returned to the Family, and not all of it was inside my head. I didn't know what to think of this new teaching of Charlie's. It seemed to make sense, especially with everybody parroting it and working so hard getting ready for what was coming, but a part of me held back. I wasn't quite sure. Meanwhile, George Spahn was telling Charlie he'd have to get us all off the ranch. The police had come up several times since the Helter Skelter Club opened, pestering George about operating a nightclub without a license. There were constantly new people coming and going, guys like Danny DeCarlo, one of the Straight Satan’s bikers who needed to get away from his “red freak” (barbiturate addict) wife in Venice. DeCarlo hung around mainly because he enjoyed making love with Charlie's “sweeties,” as he called them, and later, during the investigation of the murders, he would be a major source of information for the prosecution.
Once George started getting uptight, Charlie decided Squeaky should talk the old man into signing over his ranch to the Family. Although nothing specific was said about it at the time, I don't think Charlie planned for him to last very long after he made out his new will. But Spahn was as stubborn as he was old, and after George made us close down the club Charlie decided we should move back to the Canoga Park house on Gresham Street.
It was more than just a house. There was a large garage in back, along with some run-down stables for working on the dune buggies and bikes, and there was also a large attic where we put all the mattresses and continued our lovemaking in the dust and cobwebs. Between working on the vehicles and getting together supplies and trying to find a secret route up through Devil's Canyon into the desert (the Canyon started just across the highway from Spahn and Charlie was convinced that the song “Helter
Skelter” gave coded directions for a way through it into Death Valley), we were kept pretty busy, but Charlie wasn't comfortable down in the middle of the Valley. There were too many people.
When he found out about a house up in the hills above Malibu Canyon that had been leased by the rock group Iron Butterfly but was now standing vacant, he decided we should live up there. So once more we piled everything together and made a move. Just as he had left Brooks Poston and Juanita up at Barker Ranch
in the desert, however, and Squeaky at Spahn Ranch with old George, Charlie had a couple of the girls stay behind at Gresham Street, too. He liked to have lots of options.
At the Malibu Canyon house we spent most of our time roaring up and down the Santa Monica mountains in the dune buggies or trying to accommodate Charlie's constantly changing whims — like turning one of the trucks into a mobile pit stop for the dune buggies or painting the name of a fictitious movie company on all the vehicles for cover. Then, without warning, sometime early in April, Charlie decided we should move back to Spahn, whether George liked it or not. The time for Helter Skelter was very close and we needed a clear escape route to the desert.


Like you said grim, we also get variations on this Gresham scene from Fromme, Lake, and Watkins. Tex wrote this in the 70s, not quite a decade removed from the Family era, so some of the more mundane details may have still been fresh in his mind.

orwhut said...


Fayez Abedaziz said...
And the girls were kinda lost in the head and the guys were un-good looking, hell, you'd think there woulda been at least one that was, well, at least almost as good looking as say, Jimmy Page or Paul James McCartney, the fellas from Britain.
Or Elvis, our own best voice singing, that was then. Are you diggin'? What!
Fayez,
You've reminded of a comment years back where one of the ladies on this forum made it very clear that she admired the looks of Bobby Beausoleil. You might be hearing from her shortly.

grimtraveller said...

Gorodish said...

Like you said grim, we also get variations on this Gresham scene from Fromme, Lake, and Watkins. Tex wrote this in the 70s, not quite a decade removed from the Family era, so some of the more mundane details may have still been fresh in his mind

It's kind of standard Family contradictions. But Tex is the only person that I've ever come across that says anything about moving back to Gresham and especially after Danny DeCarlo was on the scene. Squeaky mentioned that they left Gresham while the bank came to look at it {that's when they spent a day or two at the vacated Iron Butterfly house} then they went back. Then back to Spahn. But she relates Tex's return to Spahn after 3 or 4 months away and there was never a move back to Gresham. It's all so confusing. The time Dianne Lake puts Tex there {Jan '69}, by common agreement among just about everyone, even Tex, he wasn't there.
Ultimately though, it's unimportant, other than to show Steven Gaines was sensationalizing, rather like he did with Peter Brown in "The Love You Make."