Hollywood Remains to Be Seen
A Guide to the Movie Stars' Final Homes

LAPD Street Signs

Officer Arthur Lloyd Davenport
(Nov. 10, 1891 – May 16, 1926)

The iconic intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street has often been called “the world’s most famous intersection,” and is a must-see destination for tourists visiting Los Angeles.

In the 1920s, movie, radio and music businesses opened near Hollywood and Vine. In the 1930s, Los Angeles radio station KFWB regularly announced that it was “broadcasting live from Hollywood and Vine,” and gossip columnists used the name of the intersection as shorthand for the entertainment industry.

The first high-rise building in Hollywood – the 12-story Taft Building – was built at Hollywood and Vine in 1923, and is still standing. Six years later, the 12-story Bank of Hollywood Building opened across the street. It's also still standing, but it's now known as the Equitable Building.

The famous Hollywood Walk of Fame features the names of nearly 3,000 entertainment celebrities along two streets – Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street.

In the midst of the visitors and tourists who are looking up at the buildings, or looking down at the names on the Walk of Fame, there is a memorial sign at the northwest corner of Hollywood and Vine honoring LAPD Officer Arthur Lloyd Davenport, who was killed at the intersection on May 16, 1926.

Arthur Davenport was born Nov, 10, 1891, in Wilcox, Nebraska, the third of seven children of Charles, a deliveryman then a farmer, and Sarah Fulmer Davenport. Like his siblings, Arthur worked on the family farm.

Arthur enlisted in the U.S. Army during World War I, and served in Europe with Army Field Hospital Company No. 41. His Army registration card described him as tall, medium build, with blue eyes and light brown hair. After the war, Arthur returned home to Nebraska and worked as a machinist.

Shortly after the death of Charles Davenport in 1921, his widow, Sarah, moved to Los Angeles with two of their sons – Arthur and Earl, the youngest of the siblings. Earl joined the Los Angeles Fire Department, and Arthur worked briefly as a telephone installer before joining the LAPD on June 1, 1923.

Early on the morning of Sunday, May 16, 1926, Officer Davenport, 35, was riding in a police car driven by Officer Franklin L. Hartzell, 28. Both officers were assigned to the Lincoln Heights Station. At San Fernando Road and Los Feliz Boulevard, the police car was flagged down by several citizens who reported a reckless driver on Los Feliz Boulevard, heading west toward Hollywood.

Officers Davenport and Hartzell gave chase, and quickly caught up to the car, which Hartzell later reported was swerving from one side of the street to the other. As the police car approached, the driver of the other car, apparently realizing that he was being chased, accelerated, with speeds exceeding 50 m.p.h. The chase continued on Sanborn Junction, then west on Hollywood Boulevard.

As the chase approached Vermont Avenue, Hartzell reported seeing a bottle thrown from the other car. The bottle was later recovered and was found to contain alcohol.

At Hollywood and Vermont, the fleeing car narrowly missed hitting two other cars. As the chase continued, Davenport fired a shot and hit the car, but it didn’t stop.

After a chase of more than five miles, the two vehicles approached Hollywood and Vine, and the police car caught up to the fleeing vehicle and attempted to pull it over. But the car suddenly turned in a tight circle in the intersection, ramming the police vehicle near the left rear tire and rolling it onto its side on the curb.

Davenport was pinned beneath the police car, and died at the scene. Hartzell was thrown clear, and received minor cuts and bruises. After the collision, the other car sped away south on Vine.

Three days later, the car was found by L.A. County sheriff’s deputies near Montrose. The following day, the 24-year-old driver of the car turned himself in, and was charged with murder. At trial, the evidence failed to show that the driver intended to kill Davenport, so the charge was reduced to manslaughter, driving while intoxicated, and failure to stop and render aid. The driver pled guilty, and was sentenced to one year in jail.

Six of Davenport’s fellow officers from the Lincoln Heights Station served as pallbearers to escort his body to the railroad station for travel back to Wilcox, Nebraska, his birthplace, for funeral services and burial in Wilcox Cemetery, where his father and many other family members are buried.

One of the six Lincoln Heights officers who escorted Davenport’s body – Sgt. Judson D. Cornwall – was the next LAPD officer to die in the line of duty, less than two months later.

Officer Davenport’s memorial sign is located on the northwest corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street.

Back to main LAPD page