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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Crime Scene: 1920

Crime Scene: 1920

Washington, D.C., circa 1920. "809 Ninth Street." A good location if you need some printing done. National Photo Company glass negative. View full size.

UPDATE: This is the scene of the "Greek murder" whose victims were shown here two years ago. Thanks to Cnik70 and Stanton Square for their detective work.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5


This site's now the location of the US Mint and the new Cuba Libre restaurant.

Local color

Just posted a colorized version on my blog. Sorry, it's a bad habit. I can't stop myself.


Another Parallel Universe shot. Obviously those children have seen us and startled as we see them and startle. The watchful eye of the Matron dares us to make a move, even a false move. And this before I saw it's the Murder House. Cool.

Greek Murder

I thought this sounded familiar. This is directly related to this previous post.

[Brilliant! I saw the two photos side by side yesterday when I was posting this but did not make the connection. - Dave]

"Shining" prequel

No wonder all that mayhem and murder occurred here. The two sisters from the Overlook Hotel are standing there checking everything out.

Scene of the Crime

The account of this grisly murder reads like the back-story of a George Pelecanos novel. The subplot: a crime of deception and betrayal goes tragically wrong. The characters: Greek immigrants working in the restaurant trade. The location: inner neighborhood of Washington D.C.

Washington Post, Jul 26, 1920

2 Slain, Third Dying

Man and Woman Lose Lives in
Affray in Ninth Street.

Police Believe Tragedy Followed an Attempt at Robbery.

A man and a woman are dead, and another man is mortally wounded as the result of a shooting and cutting affray in a rooming house at 809 Ninth street northwest, early yesterday evening.

The dead are Katherine Odiscus and Theodore Apostalos Koukos. Jean Odiscus, believed to be the husband of the woman, is in Emergency Hospital in a critical condition.

A roomer at the house, hearing four shots about 6 o'clock, summoned Patrolmen Page and Murray of the First precinct, who removed the victims to Emergency Hospital in the patrol wagon.

Physicians at that institution said that the wife died before she reached the hospital as the result of two bullet wounds to the head. Koukos died as the result of several hatchet wounds about the head, believe to have been inflicted by the husband. Odiscus is suffering from two bullet wounds in the head.

Clew in a Post Card.

A .32-caliber revolver with four bullets discharged and a blood-stained hatchet were found lying on the floor near the bodies. Koukos was found lying face downward at the foot of a small flight of stairs where he had fallen. He was partially clad when picked up by Patrolman Davis, of the First precinct, who took the victims to the hospital.

The woman was lying on the floor of a hall a short distance from her bedroom door. The husband was discovered lying across the threshold of his room with two bullet bounds in his head.

A postcard addressed "Dear Phillip," and signed by a woman stating that she was leaving for Wilmington, S.C., was on the bureau. Four new suitcases hurriedly packed, were standing on the floor of the room and appeared as though they had been dropped by some on in flight. A razor, which had just been used, was found lying on a dressing table.

Mrs. Minnie King, proprietress of the boarding house, said that Koukos and Odiscus applied at the house late Saturday night for a room. They say that the sister of Odiscus would arrive later in the night and engaged a room for her. Odiscus said that his sister was French and spoke no English. He said that he had formerly roomed with Mrs. King, although the woman has no recollection of him.

Story Told by Mrs. King.

Shortly after the two men entered the dwelling the girl is believed to have arrived, taking the room which had been engaged for her. Mrs. King told Lieut. Sanford and Detective O'Reilly that she had no knowledge as to the exact time that any of the trio entered the house for the night.

No other roomers in the house saw either of the three persons at any time yesterday, although it is known that they left the dwelling sometime in the forenoon and returned shortly before the tragedy. The theory advanced by the police for the killing is that the husband and wife lured Koukos from his home in Norfolk, Va., representing the woman to be single, for the purpose of robbing him.

Theories of the Police.

Reconstructing the tragedy Lieutenant Sanford said that probably the husband and wife entered Koukos' room when the latter was asleep and attempted to slay him by beating him over the head with a hatchet, which the husband is known to have incurred before engaging the room.

It is thought that Koukos managed to gain his feet long enough to procure a revolver and then retreating toward the starts shot and killed the woman and fired two shots which may prove fatal to the husband. The murdered man is thought to have made an attempt to raise some one in the dwelling but succumbed to his wounds when at the head of the stairs.

Police last night declared that Odiscus formerly worked in a restaurant in Washington. Letters found in the room indicate that the husband and wife were separated several times and that the man in his effort to locate the woman traveled in several cities in Virginia and North Carolina.

$1,900 Found on Body.

It is practically certain, police say, that the man and woman going under the name of Odiscus were in collusion to rob Koukos and got him to come to Washington to marry the girl who was posing as his sister. Greeks consulted in this city who allege to have known Odiscus last night definitely identified him as a husband of the woman.

A money belt containing $1,900 in bills of large denominations was found on the body of Koukos when on the operating table at Emergency Hospital.

Police are endeavoring to locate any relatives of the three. Passports out of Greece were found in the baggage owned by the man and his wife. It was by this means that their names were procured. An inquest will be held over the bodies of the man and woman at the morgue this afternoon.

[And there's more here. - Dave]

Look out below

The birthplace of the old flowerpot-on-the-head gag. A true comedy classic.

Check Out

That superb masonry work on 809. Hard to duplicate today. And the stained glass glazing above the ebtry doors and the first floor double window. A lost art.

W.B. Dawson: Radio Enthusiast

Washington Post, May 7, 1924

Listening In

Radio Editor:

Kindly Tell me through your paper if there is such a station as CHYC, Montreal, Canada, and what is the mileage? At 9:55 last night (Sunday) I heard music broadcast by a Mr. Root, Montreal, Canada, I am quite sure. Thanking you for any information. W.B. Dawson, 807 Ninth street northwest.

ANSWER — CHYC as listed on The Post radio map is a broadcasting station of 2,000 watts power operating in Montreal, Quebec, on 410 meters. The station is owned by the Northern Electric Company and broadcasts in English. The station is approximately 495 miles distant from Washington.

Gallaudet Pennant

Does the pennant hanging approximately beneath the "D" in the Word Art Press sign read "Gallaudet"? Sure looks that way to me. If so it would be fitting that the college be recognized alongside Georgetown and other area institutions, though odd because at the time it was called "Columbia Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb and Blind" and would not be named Gallaudet College until 1954. Edward Miner Gallaudet was the school's first superintendent and his father was the founder of the first school for the deaf in the U.S., but would that rate a pennant?

Can someone with better eyes and/or a better computer screen confirm that the pennant does indeed say "Gallaudet"? If so, may the mob-source wisdom of Shorpydom provide an answer to the question of the anachronistic pennant.

[Hardly an anachronism -- the name Gallaudet College has been around since 1894. - Dave]

Another lady in the window

She's trying to be unobtrusive, but we see you ... Stood still long enough to register clearly, unlike the children and the passing man.

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