Widow with rifle guards house
July 31, 1958: Lomie Puckett stands guard to prevent bulldozers from leveling her Edendale house for the construction of the Golden State Freeway. Puckett wanted more money than offered for the house.
The next morning, an article in the Los Angeles Times reported:
A Los Angeles widow yesterday mounted guard with a 30-caliber rifle in a one-woman effort to prevent State officials from taking over a house in the path of the Golden State Freeway.
While scraper blades and bulldozers churned away only 50 feet distant, Mrs. Lomie Puckett – rifle beside her — sat on the porch of the two-bedroom home at 2714 Gleneden St. and delivered her opinion on the subject:
“People say you can’t beat the State. Well, I don’t know, but I know they’re not going to push me around!”
At issue is the value of the property — one of 17 similar rental properties Mrs. Puckett owns in the neighborhood.
“The State says they’re only going to give me $8,061,” Mrs. Puckett said. “I can’t buy property like this again for that kind of money.”
The standoff lasted several days.
On Aug. 5, five sheriff’s deputies, posing as newsmen, gained entry into the home and disarmed Puckett, 51, and her son Ross, 23. The Pucketts were served with a “writ of assistance,” and the home was bulldozed.
About the newsmen ruse by deputies, Puckett later was quoted in The Times: “I think it was a pretty sneaky trick to use to get into the house. But at least no one got hurt. I’m certainly thankful for that.”
During an October 1958 Superior Court condemnation trial, Puckett, who had been asking $13,000 for the house, was awarded $9,000 by a jury.
According to this 1992 Los Angeles Times obituary, Puckett’s husband was a retired Los Angeles police officer who died in 1952.
The top image by Los Angeles Times staff photographer John Malmin was lead art on the local section news front on Aug. 1, 1958. The two photos below by Times photographer Harry Chase were published in the Aug. 6, 1958 edition.
There is a Los Angeles Herald Examiner image of Puckett online at USC.
Aug. 5, 1958: The Widow Puckett, arrow, whose stand against advance of freeway was broken by Trojan Horse tactics of five deputies who posed as newsmen, leaves her house minutes before bulldozer started biting into it. (Original Times caption from Aug. 6, 1958 edition.) Credit: Harry Chase / Los Angeles Times
Aug. 5, 1958: A bulldozer grinds down wreckage of Mrs. Lomie Puckett’s home, clearing the way for construction of the Golden State Freeway. Credit: Harry Chase / Los Angeles Times
September 22, 2011, 10:37 am
What about her personal possessions such as furnishings, clothing, food supplies, etc? Were all these just ground under as well. I don't believe personal property should be taken from it's legitimate owner without equal or better replacement. To simply decide to give the owner a chunk of money that obviously could not buy an equal replacement is totally unfair and very totalitarian.
September 23, 2011, 12:38 pm
Welcome to USA, home of the brave, land of the free…
September 23, 2011, 2:03 pm
Entry like that into the home when no crime is being committed and there was no warrant for arrest or search should have been a violation of the 4th Amendment.
September 23, 2011, 4:52 pm
It was one of her rental properties,she didn't actually live there. My guess is that ,like many landlords, she felt her property was worth more than it really was. Even a jury decided that is was worth only $9000.
September 23, 2011, 7:29 pm
Rental property per the article …
September 23, 2011, 10:49 pm
It said rental property in the words up there.
September 25, 2011, 8:33 am
What it said was that she OWNED 17 rental properties in that neighbourhood.
February 2, 2012, 10:02 am
Here's the legal authority: The Pucketts were served with a “writ of assistance,”
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