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Bullet of Mystery -- Part 3

May 21, 2011 |  1:12 am

July 11, 1901, Lionel Comport lionel_comport_nd_crop

In case you just tuned in, I’m posting a small case study of research I did with Caroline Comport on her grandfather Lionel Comport for her master’s thesis. Researching Los Angeles is a treasure hunt, and every time I dig into the resources I find something new.

Bullet of Mystery – Part 1
Bullet of Mystery – Part 2
In Part 2, we looked at some of the resources for online newspapers. Caroline was also interested in the background details of the story. What was the neighborhood like?


  1909 Los Angeles City Directory  

1909 City Directory The Los Angeles Public Library has a database of historic city directoriesthat’s quite useful, so we checked them for Caroline’s family and to see if we could find any details about the neighborhood at Toberman and 20th streets. The earliest online directory is 1909, eight years after the shooting.  We found some information on the family, but were less successful in discovering anything about anyone living in the house at 2001 Toberman St., which was mentioned in the story.


The next place we checked was ZIMAS, the City of Los Angeles Zoning Information and Map Access System. At one time, ZIMAS and Firefox didn’t play well together, but that has been remedied. Remember, this is only for the city of Los Angeles, so it won’t have information on other portions of the county.  For that, you can use Property Shark (see below).

  Toberman and 20th  

After locating the parcel at the northwest corner of Toberman and 20th, we find this information.


We also consulted


Property Shark is a free service, but it requires registration.


And here’s a sample of what you get when you register.

Coming up next: Sanborn maps.