Crime scene houses

The Haunted Lemp Family Mansion

image from: www.ksdk.com

image from: www.ksdk.com

I got a reader request to do a post on this historic home in St. Louis, Missouri. It has the morbid reputation of being the site of not one, not two, but THREE suicides of Lemp family members. And one mysterious death.

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The Dakota Building

image from: en.wikipedia.org

image from: en.wikipedia.org

Spooky, ominous, regal and intimidating – The Dakota Building is one of New York City’s most iconic residential structures.

image from: www.stefenturner.com

image from: www.stefenturner.com

Located on the northwest corner of 72nd Street and Central Park West on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, this grand building occupies a prime spot overlooking Central Park.

image from: www.thetimes.co.uk

image from: www.thetimes.co.uk

It was built in 1884 when the Manhattan skyline was sparse and largely undeveloped…

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Breeze Knoll: The John List Murder House

image from: notes.andrewromano.net

image from: notes.andrewromano.net

One of the most confounding crimes of the 1970’s was the List family murders.

On November 9, 1971, John List shot and killed his wife, mother and three children in the house (pictured above) at 431 Hillside Avenue in Westfield, New Jersey. He left their bodies neatly lined up on Boy Scout sleeping bags in the grand ballroom.

image from: blog.mlive.com

image from: blog.mlive.com

He tuned the PA system on to a gospel music station and quietly slipped away into history. Almost.

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Hotel California: Dorothea Puente’s boarding house of horrors

Last thing I remember, I was running for the door,
I had to find the passage back to the place I was before, 
Relax, said the night man, We are programmed to receive, 
You can check out anytime you like… but you can never leave

image from: sacramentoappraisalblog.com

image from: sacramentoappraisalblog.com

Such a lovely little place.

During the 1980’s this dainty Queen Anne style duplex in Sacramento, California was a boarding house for senior citizens operated by a lady named Dorothea Puente.

The only problem was that Ms. Puente never let her boarders leave…. alive.

In fact, none of the tenants made it out of their garden plots until a suspicious social worker alerted police in 1988 to the disappearance of several at-risk adults. In the end, seven dismembered bodies were found on the property. Dorothea was later convicted of murdering her tenants and burying them in her yard so she could continue to collect their social security checks.

image from: www.dailymail.co.uk

image from: www.dailymail.co.uk

Newspapers dubbed her the “Death House Landlady”.

Dorothea’s track record wasn’t the best…. she was arrested in the 1960’s for running a brothel.

After spending time in jail, Puente dove into a life of crime by trolling bars for elderly men on benefits. She would befriend them, forge their signatures and steal their money. Dorothea was busted for these crimes in the early 1980’s and was on supervised parole and not permitted to have contact with senior citizens. So it is a complete mystery how she was able to run a boarding house for elderly and disabled people.

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The Secret Annex of The Anne Frank House

image from: www.annefrank.org

image from: www.annefrank.org

The world learned about a German Jewish girl named Anne Frank through her own candid words preserved in a personal diary that miraculously survived the Holocaust.

image from: prashantb.wordpress.com

image from: prashantb.wordpress.com

Sadly, Anne did not survive.

But her words have lived on for generations, as has the very house where she and her Jewish family hid for 2 years before being found by the Nazis.

image from: www.tripadvisor.com

image from: www.tripadvisor.com

The house is located on the Prinsengracht canal in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The front part of the building is now a memorial museum for Anne and the victims; and the back secret annex – where they hid – has been preserved as it was during World War II.

image from: http://thereandbackagaintravel.com Photographer Cris Toala Olivares. 2010

image from: http://thereandbackagaintravel.com Photographer Cris Toala Olivares. 2010

Opened as a public museum on May 3, 1960, the building and annex have been restored with period artifacts. Millions of people have now toured the site to pay tribute to Anne, her family and four other Jewish people who eventually perished in Nazi concentration camps after their hiding spot was betrayed.

Anne Frank

Anne Frank

The house and the twin house next door, were built by Dirk van Delft in the year 1635. The building was originally a private residence, then a warehouse, then a manufacturing company for household appliances, and in the 1930’s it was used as a production place for piano rolls. In December of 1940, Anne’s father Otto Frank moved the offices of the spice company he worked for into the building known as Prinsengracht 263.

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~ House Crazy Sarah ~

Sarah Felix Burns

"So many houses, so little time"






Featured house artist:

Naomi Maddux - custom stained glass and mosaics

Featured house artist:

Julia Callon featured on Wondereur

(Click on the images above to learn more about these artists)

Featured house books:

Creating the Artful Home
Mushroom House of Charlevoix

(Click on the book cover images for purchase information)

My first novel

JACKFISH - The Vanishing Village

My second novel

Song Over Quiet Lake
Rivit Media Publisher