New York Times Bestselling Author Steve Hodel

Musical Prodigy George Hodel Raching Out with World Renowned Composer Sergie Rachmaninoff – Family Photo Circa 1917-1923

February 26, 2019
Los Angeles, California

The below family photographs were included in Black Dahlia Avenger (Arcade 2003). The top photo is of George’s mother, my maternal grandmother approximately age-29.  The lower photograph was taken at the Hodel family residence circa 1919-1923.  The world-renowned composer Sergei Rachmaninoff is seated center between an individual believed to be Alexander Zelenko, who at that time was the Russian Minister of Culture and one of Russia’s most famous architects.   (Mrs. Zelenko is seen seated to the left of Rachmaninoff)

Zelenko, a good friend of my grandfather was commissioned and brought from Russia to Los Angeles,  to design and build the Hodel residence on Monterey Road, in South Pasadena. Zelenko also built a second residence on the property, a “Tea House” specifically for my father to reside in, which was completed and gifted to the boy genius then attending the California Institue of Technology (CalTech)  by my grandfather as a 15th birthday present. (1921)

Hodel Family Photograph was given to me by my grandfather’s third wife, Alice Hodel after his passing.

Original 2003 HB ed.         “Boy of Nine Chief Soloist at Shrine”


  Sergei Rachmaninoff California 1919               Sergei Rachmaninoff  1921


Hodel Residence and Tea House Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Monument No. 802
Designed and built by famed Russian architect, Alexander Zelenko





  1. Bruce Sullivan on February 27, 2019 at 6:00 am

    Hi Steve
    I’m just getting started with your sites Wow

    • Steve Hodel on February 27, 2019 at 9:02 am

      Bruce S: Careful, it’s a Black Hole going back with twenty-years of investigation and five books.

  2. Jennifer on March 1, 2019 at 10:14 am

    Hi Steve,
    I just started getting into your work and wow – I had no idea how deep this rabbit hole is! I just thought I was going to read about this mystery that has finally been solved, lol. But I just wanted to say you deserve a medal! Not only for all the work you have done on this and so many cases that this ties into, but also for the mere fact that it is your biological father and all that entails for you. I myself am a daughter of a man that abandoned his children and then barely showed up, as well as the emotional toll all of that plays on you. So anyway, not to get into my story, just wanted you to know that some of us out here acknowledge how tough it has been to separate emotions and that you deserve a medal for that alone. Thanks and keep up the good work!
    God bless,
    Kennesaw, GA

    • Steve Hodel on March 1, 2019 at 10:34 am

      Jennifer: Thanks for the kind words. Much appreciated. Yes, a whole lot of families out there having to deal with various forms of abandonment, estrangement and emotional abuse. Single mothers and father’s struggling to raise children. Lots of variants of that and most families have hidden “secrets” many of which never surface. Albeit the Hodel story is definitely EXTREME. Best to you and yours. Steve

  3. Alf Y. Wilson Martin on March 5, 2019 at 7:54 pm

    Rachmaninoff didn’t visit the U.S. until 1918. , “On 1 November 1918, the family boarded the SS Bergensfjord in Oslo, Norway bound for New York City, arriving eleven days later. News of Rachmaninoff’s arrival spread, causing a crowd of musicians, artists, and fans to gather outside The Sherry-Netherland hotel where he was staying.” Norris, Geoffrey (2000). Rachmaninoff. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-198-16488-3. Your photo must be circa 1918 or later…..

    Just an FYI

    Thanks for all of your amazing information!!!

    • Steve Hodel on March 5, 2019 at 9:35 pm

      Alf Y.W Martin: Yes, I’ve dated it in the blog from 1919-1923. Thanks.

  4. Alf Y. Wilon Martin on March 5, 2019 at 11:42 pm

    Makes sense, Steve. Thanks. I was confused because one of the photos – the one with Rachmaninoff – says it’s circa 1917.

    Thanks so much.

    I submitted a second, deeper question and look forward to your response.

    Wishing you peace and all the best,

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