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Murder House on a Foggy Day

Reading Duluth News Tribune reporter Brandon Stahl’s series of stories on problem properties in Duluth made me think of the Murder House.

While it sucks to have a deadbeat and/or drug-addicted neighbor who can’t manage to do something as simple as put garbage into a garbage can, there are worse problems out there. Sometimes your neighbor is a paranoid schizophrenic who paints crazy things on his roof and puts up weird signs on the lawn that attempt to explain his conspiracy theories.

On one hand, I like to respect the rights of property owners — whether they are mentally ill or not — to turn their homes into pieces of expressionist art or whatever. On the other hand, I absolutely would not want to live next to the Murder House. One of the neighboring homes is currently for sale, and I have to imagine it will go for a fraction of its rightful price. Sucks living in a free country, I guess.

(By the way, I’m going to be sensitive and not mention the location of Duluth’s Murder House, so don’t ask or mention it yourself in the comments. It’s bad enough that the owner probably saw me take the picture and thinks I’m a government agent plotting his demise.)

(Also, to be clear, I found Mr. Stahl’s stories quite interesting and informative. I’m not trying to downplay his work; I’m just trying to one-up him in depicting crazy, awful stuff.)

And now, to cheer you all up after all that, here’s a lilac bush. Ain’t they lovely this time of year?

31 Comment(s)

  1. Are those actual dates of homicides that occurred in Duluth?

    Rae | May 24, 2010 | New Comment
  2. Does this person also have a huge plywood sign that doesn’t even make much sense?

    Then I think I know where it is.

    mevdev | May 24, 2010 | New Comment
  3. The fact that this person has 2 “murder dates” that personally affect him enough to paint them on his roof is sad…. and scary as hell! I’m glad I don’t know where this house is.

    watergirl | May 24, 2010 | New Comment
  4. My lilacs are blooming, too. Almost all of them. This time of year is perfect, when lilacs are blooming I think of Prince and how great it is to live here, it’s like a magical little mini season -- lilac blooming season. Well, lilac/rhubarb season, that is. I could be mistaken but I believe that they largely overlap.

    As someone who spends a lot of time pondering and reacting to bad tenants and slum lords and how they affect MY own personal quality of life as well as community standards in general, I think that Brandon and the photographer (Clint Austin, I believe) did a good job on Sunday’s piece. I haven’t read today’s yet.

    wildgoose | May 24, 2010 | New Comment
  5. To clarify, I’m pretty sure the dates do not represent actual murders, but murders of this guy’s rights or something to that affect. It’s not really for us to understand.

    Paul Lundgren | May 24, 2010 | New Comment
  6. I’m going to be in town for the 4th of July and Beth and I are going to look at the housing market while we are there. Be sure to keep an eye on that one for me. I don’t mind crazy people. Hell I might paint something crazy on my roof to go along with the theme.

    JPersch | May 24, 2010 | New Comment
  7. Now I’m so incredibly curious as to where this is.

    Bad Cat! | May 24, 2010 | New Comment
  8. Thanks for the clarification.

    I love colorful people -- as long as they are in a different neighborhood.

    Rae | May 24, 2010 | New Comment
  9. Have to agree with wildgoose….excellent articles in the DNT about landlord/tenant/housing issues. It’s the type of reporting that makes a local paper indispensable. I hope it makes a difference as these awful housing situations greatly affect the quality of life for all of us.

    The Murder House doesn’t even come close to some of those rental pits.

    Terry G. | May 24, 2010 | New Comment
  10. Thank you, Wildgoose and Terry, for the nice comments.

    As to the murder house: I’m almost certain that a murder didn’t take place in Duluth on July 12, 2008. I’ve searched the archives and found that Duluth’s first murder that year was on June 14 of Stanley Boody by Spencie Walker at an apartment at 227 West Third Street.

    Brandon Stahl | May 24, 2010 | New Comment
  11. You can trade a Garbage House for a Murder House if you want, Terry G., but in my experience you are way wrong.

    I spend about 15 minutes a week picking up garbage around the rentals across the alley from me and, yeah, that sucks. But it’s not like I could go scrub the shingles on my neighbor’s roof if I lived next to the Murder House. In that case I’d be powerless. I’ll take the garbage any day.

    Paul Lundgren | May 24, 2010 | New Comment
  12. Paul -- that’s why snow is so great -- it covers all of it.

    Terry G. | May 24, 2010 | New Comment
  13. Indeed.

    And hey there, Brandon Stahl, congratulations on your promotion to investigative/special projects editor. Much deserved.

    Paul Lundgren | May 24, 2010 | New Comment
  14. Nobody has pointed out yet that the top line on the Murder House is Morse code for SOS (or for 3B, or IJEI, or numerous other combinations due to lack of spaces).

    Lithis | May 24, 2010 | New Comment
  15. That’s why we love you, Lithis. Well, among other reasons.

    Paul Lundgren | May 24, 2010 | New Comment
  16. This house is SO creepy and I don’t even want to know where it is…well, ok, a little bit I do.

    Hats off to you folks who pick up garbage. There is a vacant lot next to me and people think that is where they should throw garbage. Garbage breeds garbage so I pick it up. Not too difficult and makes my view better.

    Jude | May 24, 2010 | New Comment
  17. Oh, say, is there a place to pick lilacs where they are not on private property? I love lilacs and this property I just bought doesn’t have any.. I keep looking for a place I might get a bouquet (they are everywhere) but am afraid I’ll be reported if I trespass. Send me an email sonjud 2003 at yahoo dot com if you can help a gal out.

    Jude | May 24, 2010 | New Comment
  18. I drove all over Duluth this weekend and most homes are outstanding and interesting even if some need repairs. Sure there are some bad properties but most aren’t. Some have some great charactor and I always get a giggle when I drive past the house with the hot tub on the roof of his house with the outstanding view. It’s been that way for years. Skyline Drive really is fun to look down on the houses from.

    Wes Scott | May 24, 2010 | New Comment
  19. Thanks for the lilacs Paul.

    MaryK | May 24, 2010 | New Comment
  20. I can see my house from here.

    zra | May 24, 2010 | New Comment
  21. I bet all the 12-year-olds in the neighborhood dare each other to sneak out during sleepovers and peek into the windows of the murder house.

    At least that’s what I would have done.

    Barrett | May 24, 2010 | New Comment
  22. Thanks to a VKP (very kind person) who emailed me, I will be able to pick a bouquet of lilacs. What a great community we have!

    Jude | May 25, 2010 | New Comment
  23. Talk about “crazy awful stuff”…I hit the paper archives after hearing some rumors, and seeing this post. I learned that one of our delivery guys, who has been coming into my home for years has a very checkered past. A woman died when he crossed the center line while heavily intoxicated many many years ago. He had no license at the time and he got convicted. Her 2 very young children were in the car and one of them was seriously injured. Then this guy got another DWI after that incident a few years later, a careless driving etc…I try not to judge others. It’s very difficult to know this and still allow him to enter our home. He still drinks (moderately he says) and has not had a conviction for much in a very long time. I just cannot help thinking of those children when I see this guy. My neighbor says he paid his debt to society and I should let it go. Tough one for me.

    willie h | May 25, 2010 | New Comment
  24. Jude, if you want a couple 12 foot lilac trees and you can haul them, check out this Craiglist ad:

    *** Two lilac trees (white & purple) *** (Billingspark, superior)

    @ndy | May 25, 2010 | New Comment
  25. This is in West Duluth. The house next to it is actually quite nice. This one though, not so much.

    Ryan | May 25, 2010 | New Comment
  26. Hey, hey! What did I say about not commenting on the location. C’mon Ryan, show some restraint.

    Paul Lundgren | May 25, 2010 | New Comment
  27. @Andy: Thanks for the tip on lilacs. I’ll check it out.

    Jude | May 25, 2010 | New Comment
  28. The guy that lives in this house served time in jail for bringing a pistol into a nearby church, pulling it out, and saying crazy things to the pastor.

    The “murders” are refering to a dog and the crazy guy’s mother. Of course both of these are just delusions.

    Anon | Nov 16, 2010 | New Comment
  29. Where in West Duluth is this murder house?

    Em | May 30, 2011 | New Comment
  30. I heard it was recently torn down, so technically, it’s no where in West Duluth.

    Bad Cat! | May 30, 2011 | New Comment
  31. Yep, it’s gone. More info is available in the post “Murder House Condemned.”

    Paul Lundgren | May 30, 2011 | New Comment

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