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Lomie Puckett; Stood Ground for 5 Days in Effort to Save Rental Home

February 25, 1992

Lomie Puckett, a policeman's widow who kept state workers at bay with a .30-caliber rifle after they tried to demolish one of her rental homes to clear a path for the Golden State Freeway, is dead.

Mrs. Puckett, who lost the battle to save her home in August, 1958, was 84 when she died in San Bernardino on Wednesday, said Louis Boros, a longtime friend.

For five days, Mrs. Puckett, who complained that the state had only offered her $8,000 for the house, one of 17 she owned, sat on the porch of the two-bedroom house just north of Riverside Drive near Griffith Park. Television and print reporters covered the skirmish in daily broadcasts and stories.

Mrs. Puckett said she did not really want the money. "If the state would go out and buy me a two-bedroom house comparable to this one, so I can rent it for income, I'd be perfectly happy."

In that era, the state was routinely criticized for condemning property with seemingly little regard for owners' investment, and Mrs. Puckett's defiance drew widespread support.

Until the state condemned the property, Mrs. Puckett said, she had received $70 a month for the home she had owned since 1932. She and her husband, a retired Los Angeles Police Department officer who died in 1952, had been accumulating property since the early days of the Depression, she said.

On Aug. 5, 1958, sheriff's deputies posing as reporters seized the 51-year-old widow. Within minutes, two bulldozers leveled the house.

A jury later awarded Mrs. Puckett $9,000 instead of the $13,000 she had sought.

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