Black Dahlia Murder- 67th Anniversary

Framed Blk Dahlia Color (1)








Black Dahlia Photo by Robert Sadler









Elizabeth “Black Dahlia” Short 1946
January 15, 2014
Los Angeles, California

Yesterday, on the spur of the moment, I phoned a friend of mine, Dennis E. and thought it would be fun to take him to breakfast. He was available.

I picked him up, and we drove south from Sherman Oaks toward downtown.  Dennis queried, “Where are we going?”   I replied, “Secret, someplace old, but new for you.”

Southbound, on the I-5, I took the Stadium Way off-ramp, and climbed up the hill, left at Dodger Stadium and a block more, then left again into the parking-lot of the Los Angeles Police Academy. 

Dennis smiled, “You’re right Steve. Never been here. Very cool.

Without any conscious realization of the date, or what day it was, all I knew was that I was feeling nostalgic.

We had an Old School breakfast–hashbrowns, ham and eggs. Our 10:30 A.M. timing was perfect, after the early morning rush of recruits and before the heavy turnout of the lunch crowd of veteran patrol officers and detectives.

Hard to believe it had been fifty-one years ago, almost to the month  that I had begun my academy training, but there it was.  Unlike me, the restaurant was literally UNCHANGED.  Same counter, same seats, almost the same menu.

I showed Dennis the Academy grounds, the swimming pool, the target range, the Academy Lounge, which was one of my old and regular “watering holes,” the Rock Garden Grotto, built mostly by jail-trustees back in the late-1930s. All unchanged. There was one new item. A bust of former police Chief Daryl Gates holding court in the courtyard just outside the restaurant, his stern eye keeping watch on the new police recruits as they marched passed on their way to and from classes.

Also, still there was “my brick” put in place some thirty-years ago as I was just finishing my twenty-four year career and about to retire.

Dennis took a few pictures as I turned around and gave the Academy one last backward glance before returning to the present and driving home.

It was a strange day. I had not eaten at the Academy restaurant in over twenty-years. Even stranger was the fact that it had remained unchanged and the same for the past fifty years. (Actually it was the same from the day it was built and opened in 1937, some 77-years past.)

Last night, as I sat at my computer and began to download the photos taken earlier in the day, for the first time it dawned on me—the date.  Yesterday was January 14, 2014. Black Dahlia Eve.

Sixty-seven years ago, almost to the hour, my father had begun the murder of Elizabeth Short at our Sowden House home. (My mother, my two brothers and I were away staying with our uncle for several weeks.) That night and into the early morning hours of today, January 15 he would continue to commit L.A.’s most notorious torture/murder, and then drive seven miles south and pose the body on Norton Avenue, in Liemert Park.

Equally bizarre would be the fact that just sixteen-years after his crime, I would find myself beginning my recruit training at the LAPD Police Academy, and then some thirty-six years after becoming a veteran homicide detective, I would, begin my investigation into and the solving of that crime.

Beyond Bizarre.

Steve Hodel

Photos taken January 14, 2014 at LAPD Academy

1937 Dedication

1937 Dedication


Chief Gates bust center courtyard

Chief Gates bust center courtyard

LAPD Academy entrance
LAPD Academy entrance

Old School partners Academy courtyard1980s

Old School partners Academy courtyard 1980s



  1. Jess on February 21, 2014 at 12:48 am

    I have eaten lunch at the Academy restaurant–it is an incredible Los Angeles treasure. I can’t imagine the Police Academy of any other city having quite the same panache. Also, the service at the restaurant was exceptionally great. I guess it had better be, condsidering the clientele!

    • Steve Hodel on February 21, 2014 at 1:21 am

      Jess: Yes, one of the few places where you can still get those old 1930s vibes. Lot of noir magic hanging out there.

  2. Marie Tsikopoulou on March 24, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    Yes Steve! It IS beyond bizarre.

    I feel badly 4 whoever suffered and died @ the hands of UR EVIL INCARNATE dad. Recently read about UR grandfather Harvey. May he rest in peace wherever he is and his demise B better exposed. When I saw the signature of Dr. George Hodel on the Death Certificate and the other 2 RED FLAGS (no autopsy and immediate cremation)…..well that clinched it 4 me. He needed UR grandpa 2B silenced.

    I also believe the POWER of GOD (same one Dr. Einstein and Jesus Christ believed in) wants ALL of this EXPOSED 4 the world 2 witness.This same power led U to become a cop-detective.

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