The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

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What happened on Dunsmuir

These appear to be four rather ordinary West Adams district homes from the late 1920s and early '30s and in many ways they are.


Dunsmuir_2435

Photographs by Larry Harnisch Los Angeles Times

This is 2435 S. Dunsmuir Ave.


Dunsmuir_2308

This is 2308 S. Dunsmuir Ave.


 

Dunsmuir_2135

This is 2135 S. Dunsmuir Ave.


Dunsmuir_2130

And this is 2130 S. Dunsmuir Ave.


But on March 16, 1952, 2130 S. Dunsmuir looked like this:

Dunsmuir_2130_1952


About three months before the explosion, William Bailey, a science teacher at Carver Junior High School, had moved into the house with his wife, Willa, and their son, William Jr. The family was black. The neighborhood was white.

Whoever hit the house also bombed the one across the street, which was being rented by Ralph Martinez and John W. Potts. Presumably they were black, although The Times doesn't say so.

On July 25, 1951, 2435 S. Dunsmuir was bombed several days after after it was sold to Dr. M.D. Matsumoto, a Japanese American physician.

An explosion a few hours earlier ripped  2308 S. Dunsmuir, which was owned by Sallie H. Mazoway, a real estate agent. "Mrs. Mazoway told police she had no part in the sale of the Matsumoto house nor had she sold property to persons not Caucasians," The Times said. "She did say that she had received anonymous telephone calls on the subject of such sales."

Although police said the explosion at 2308 S. Dunsmuir was like the others, fire officials said it might have been caused by gas that accumulated beneath the house.

There's one other thing these homes have in common: The bombings were never solved, despite rewards offered by the NAACP and ACLU soliciting information.

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