The 1971 road movie “Two-Lane Blacktop,” directed by Monte Hellman, was filmed across many states, including North Carolina, Tennessee, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona. In the film, The Driver, played by James Taylor and The Mechanic, played by Dennis Wilson, stop off at this cafe located in Flagstaff, Arizona for a meal. The classic ’55 Chevy from the film was parked out front in the scene.
The history of The Manson Family and their victims is long and vast, scattered all across California and beyond, spanning through the heart of Hollywood, into the far reaches of the desert. We’ve previously we posted articles covering Spahn Ranch and Barker Ranch. Here we will take a look at many additional sites related to the history of The Family, in semi-chronological order. We do not endorse any of the crimes related to this subject matter. This article’s sole intention is to simply acknowledge the places where these events happened and show them as they stand today.
Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, who would become the second member of The Manson Family and one of the most devoted, did not get along with her father from a young age. Not far from LAX airport, you’ll find the childhood home of Lynette.
LOCATION: 6511 W 82nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90045
Of particular interest is the lamp post in front of the home. On the cement in front of it, Lynette scrawled her name as a child, which remains there to this day. Eventually Lynette ran away from home, leading her to Venice Beach, where she met a recently paroled Charles Manson.
When released from Terminal Island in San Pedro in 1967, Charles Manson headed north to the Bay Area. He played guitar at the UC Berkeley campus, where he would meet Mary Brunner, the first member of the Manson Family. Here is the famous Sather Gate at the Berkeley campus.
LOCATION: Sather Gate, Sather Rd, Berkeley, CA 94720
Just inside the gate is the courtyard area where Manson played his guitar and met Brunner. Here are some views of what the general area looks like today.
Mason became a resident of the famous Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco during the “Summer of Love” in 1967, renting an apartment unit in this building. It was in San Francisco that he also met future family member Susan “Sadie” Atkins.
LOCATION: 636 Cole St, San Francisco, CA 94117
Around this same period, Bobby Beausoleil, who would later become involved in the first of the Manson Family murders, was also in San Francisco. He posed for a famous photo on the front stairs of this house, which at the time was occupied by underground filmmaker Kenneth Anger. Anger filmed portions of his short film “Invocation of My Demon Brother” at the house, which featured Bobby Beausoleil and Anton LaVey, with music by Mick Jagger.
LOCATION: 1198 Fulton St, San Francisco, CA 94117
Here are the stairs where Bobby posed for his photo. While serving his sentence for his murder conviction, Beausoleil later composed the score to Anger’s film “Lucifer Rising,” after a score by Jimmy Page was rejected. You can read a bit more about this home in our separate article about the Kenneth Anger House.
Eventually Manson would make his way back down to Southern California. Susan Atkins joined Manson in his trek south, along with other Family members. Sadie worked as a stripper at the Candy Cat One in Chatsworth, California. The Candy Cat remained open for decades until 2017, when it finally closed its doors. You can still see the faded letters where the sign once was.
LOCATION: 21625 Devonshire St, Chatsworth, CA 91311
Just across the street from the former Candy Cat One is The Munch Box, a staple of the San Fernando Valley that has been in business since 1956. Charles Manson used to sit and eat at The Munch Box, waiting for Sadie to finish her work shifts. A market also once stood in this area, which was one of the spots the women of the Manson Family would go digging through the dumpsters, looking for discarded food.
LOCATION: 21532 Devonshire St, Chatsworth, CA 91311
There are conflicting stories about how Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys came to know The Manson Family. The most common story is that he picked up members Patricia Krenwinkel and Ella Jo Bailey in 1968, who were hitchhiking, and brought them back to his place on Sunset Blvd. The story has been disputed, but what is known is that the Family began staying at Dennis Wilson’s home for a time. During this period, Wilson and Manson undertook some musical collaborations. Manson’s song “Cease to Exist” ended up being recorded under the name “Never Learn Not to Love” on The Beach Boys’ “20/20” album, though the sole songwriting credit went to Dennis Wilson.
Eventually the Family would overstay their welcome and Wilson split from them by selling the home. The house still stands, but it is fairly difficult to get a decent view. Fencing and trees surround the entire property along the street. Here is a view of the driveway gate.
LOCATION: 14400 Sunset Blvd, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
Here is a view within the property, when one of the gates was open.
Across the street on Will Rogers State Park Rd, the road goes up an incline, allowing for views over the fence. The trees still obscure most of the property though. It should be noted that parking is difficult here. Sunset Blvd is quite busy along this stretch and has no parking shoulder. You can go up Will Rogers State Park Rd, but the nearest parking area is at the top, meaning you’d have a long walk down and back up to return to your vehicle. Your best bet is to take one of the side roads in the vicinity, but many of them are private, so it can be tricky.
Here is a view of the horse stables at the property.
Both Charles Manson and Charles “Tex” Watson visited the famous Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood. Watson is said to have lived on the road just behind it for a time.
LOCATION: 8901 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069
Members of the Family attended parties at the house of Harold True on multiple occasions. This is Harold’s former house, which was located directly next door to Rosemary and Leno LaBianca.
LOCATION: 3267 Waverly Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Over in Beverly Hills is the original home of Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate, before they moved to Cielo Drive, where the fateful murders took place. It was here that they first met their maid, Winifred Chapman, who would continue working for them at the Cielo house and would have the unfortunate role of discovering the bodies the morning after the murders.
LOCATION: 1600 Summitridge Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Jay Sebring, another victim of the Manson Family, was a celebrity hair stylist prior to the murders who had connections all over Hollywood, including Warren Beatty and Bruce Lee. His hair salon could be found on Fairfax Ave in Los Angeles. The space remains a hair salon to this day, albeit under different ownership.
LOCATION: 725 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046
Sebring’s house could be found in Benedict Canyon, about a mile from Tate and Polanski’s house on Cielo.
LOCATION: 9860 Easton Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
In early 1969, Charles Manson rented a house in Canoga Park, where members of The Family stayed with him. They called the house the “Yellow Submarine,” due to its paint color. By this time, Manson had already discovered Spahn Ranch, but he felt it was too disorganized for musical recording and wanted to use the home as a studio. The Family’s time there would be brief and the house was eventually demolished. Today, an apartment complex stands in its place.
LOCATION: 21019 Gresham St, Canoga Park, CA 91304
The most well-known home of The Manson Family was of course Spahn Ranch in Chatsworth, California. This is where the murders were ordered. You can read much more detail about the history of Spahn Ranch in our article here.
LOCATION: Formerly 1200 Santa Susana Pass Rd, Chatsworth, CA 91311 (now defunct), nearest present address is 22601 Santa Susana Pass Rd., Chatsworth, CA 91311
The events that set the stage for the Tate-LaBianca murders really kicked into full motion in 1969 with the shooting of Bernard “Lotsapoppa” Crowe. Crowe had agreed to a drug deal with Charles “Tex” Watson, who burned him and kept the money. An angry Crowe called Spahn Ranch and asked for Charles. The name mix-up put him on the phone with Charles Manson, rather than Watson. Crowe threatened to harm Watson’s girlfriend if the situation wasn’t fixed, so Manson headed to his apartment in the middle of Hollywood. There things escalated and Manson ended up shooting Lotsapoppa. Leaving under the belief he had killed Crowe, when Manson watched the news, he saw reports of a murdered member of the Black Panther party. Crowe had in fact survived the shooting and was not a member of the Panthers. However, Manson erroneously believed he was on the hook for murder and that the Panthers would soon visit Spahn Ranch seeking retaliation. Manson also believed that Watson owed him big for having taken care of his situation.
The apartment where Lotsapoppa was shot has long since been demolished. It is now a parking lot for the famous Magic Castle.
LOCATION: 7001 Franklin Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028
More trouble would soon come when Gary Hinman set up a drug deal with a biker gang through Bobby Beausoleil. While Beausoleil denies ever being a member of the Manson Family, he held many ties with them. After the bikers claimed the drugs were bad, they demanded their money back from Beausoleil. Beausoleil went to the house of Gary Hinman, along with Mary Brunner and Susan Atkins and held Hinman captive. Believing he had received a large inheritance, they demanded money from him. Hinman denied having money and also disputed that the drugs were bad. Eventually Charles Manson would visit the house as well, slicing Hinman with a sword.
Bobby Beausoleil would then murder Gary Hinman, with words written in blood on the walls, in an attempt to make it look like a crime committed by the Black Panthers. Not long after, Beausoleil was found asleep in Hinman’s car and charged with murder. Here is the former Hinman house, which has since been remodeled and is obscured by trees and shrubs. There used to be stairs leading up to the house, which have also since been removed.
LOCATION: 964 Old Topanga Canyon Rd, Topanga, CA 90290
With Beausoleil arrested for murder, the events fell into place for the first night of the Tate-LaBianca murders. Many members of the Family have claimed the murders were intended to appear as copycat crimes, to make it appear as if Hinman’s killer was still on the loose, thus resulting in Beausoleil’s release. Others have disputed this motive, however.
Steven Parent lived at this house in El Monte, California. Parent had the misfortune of trying to sell William Garretson a clock radio on the night of the murders on August 8, 1969. Garretson was staying in a guest house at the Tate residence when Parent paid him a visit. As Parent was leaving, he encountered Tex Watson, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Linda Kasabian. Watson shot and killed Parent in his car in the driveway.
LOCATION: 11214 Bryant Rd, El Monte, CA 91731
Earlier the same night, Sharon Tate, Jay Sebring, Abigail Folger and Voytek Frykowski had dinner at the El Coyote restaurant. The Mexican restaurant was a favorite of Tate’s. It would unfortunately turn out to be their final meal.
LOCATION: 7312 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Here is a view of the front entrance of El Coyote, which remains in business to this day.
This is alleged to be the table where the group ate their dinner.
This is the entrance to the private road of Cielo Drive. Much of Cielo is actually a public road. It is only the portion leading up to the houses that is marked private. It is at the foot of the private road where the killers parked their car, heading up the rest of the way on foot in darkness.
LOCATION: Formerly 10500 Cielo Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210 (now defunct), changed to 10066 Cielo Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
While that portion of Cielo Drive is private, the road directly across the street, Bella Drive, is not. It too goes up an incline and from the top you get a clear view of all the homes along Ceilo Dr. The house furthest to the left in front of the city skyline is where the Tate/Polanki residence once stood. The killers’ original plan was to murder the occupants of every house along the block. The Tate murders proved more difficult than they had anticipated, however, so they abandoned plans to enter the other homes. While neighbors did hear sounds the night of the murders, the canyons echoed sounds and it was difficult to place where the noises came from.
LOCATION: Cielo Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210, as seen from 1436 Bella Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Here is a better view of where the Tate/Polanski home once stood, taken from Beverly View Drive. The home has since been demolished and a mansion belonging to “Full House” creator Jeff Franklin stands in it’s place.
After the murders, the killers traveled about 1.5 miles up Benedict Canyon Drive and stopped at this home on Portola Drive. Here they used a hose to wash off the victims’ blood. However, the homeowner discovered them and wrote down their license plate, which would become a heavily incriminating piece of evidence during the murder trials.
LOCATION: 9870 Portola Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
The killers then made their way further up Benedict Canyon. They pulled over to this section of the road, across the street from 2901 Benedict Canyon, where they tossed the clothes they wore during the murders. In 1969, this area was a wide shoulder where cars could pull over. Now a guard rail blocks it, but there is still a strip of land there with enough space to fit a car. Based on descriptions later provided by Susan Atkins, which described the area as mountain on one side and a ravine on the other, a local news station recreated the drive from Cielo, traveling at a moderate speed and changing their clothes. When they finished, they pulled over to the nearest shoulder they could find, leading them to the precise location where the clothes were tossed.
LOCATION: 2901 Benedict Canyon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Here’s another view of the area.
Upon making the discovery, the reporter headed across the street to notify the police.
The killers then made their way over to Beverly Glen Blvd, where they tossed the gun. They believed this area to be an empty canyon where the weapon would not likely be recovered. From the road above, this is the view they would have seen. It was not an empty canyon, however. At the bottom of the hill was a neighborhood and the gun was tossed into one of the back yards.
LOCATION: Beverly Glen Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423 (near 3627 Longview Valley Rd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423)
This is the home where the gun was discovered.
LOCATION: 3627 Longview Valley Rd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
Here you can see a view of Beverly Glen Blvd in the distance, where the gun was tossed as the killers passed.
Not content with one night of murders or with how they were carried out, Charles Manson decided to accompany the group for a second night of killings. After roaming around in search of a suitable site, they made their way over to the neighborhood of Harold True and eventually selected the house next door, belonging to Rosemary and Leno LaBianca. The group consisted of Manson, Tex Watson, Susan Atkins, Linda Kasabian, Patricia Krenwinkel, Leslie Van Houten, and Steve “Clem” Grogan. Manson entered the LaBianca house and tied up the victims, telling them they were only there to rob the place and would not be harmed.
He then returned to the car with Rosemary LaBianca’s wallet and sent Watson, Krenwinkel and Van Houten in to do the killings. He told them to hitchhike back to Spahn Ranch and he would take the remaining group out to perform a different set of murders. Here is what the LaBianca house looks like today. A gate and garage have been added and trees planted to obscure the view. Much like the Cielo house, the address was also slightly changed.
LOCATION: Formerly 3301 Waverly Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027, changed to 3311 Waverly Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Manson then took the second group to this gas station in Sylmar and had Linda Kasabian dispose of Rosemary LaBianca’s wallet in the restroom. Here is the side of the building where the restroom once was. During the trial, the prosecution alleged that this gas station was chosen in a predominantly black area, as to implicate black killers and bring about a race war called “Helter Skelter.” One of the few blows against the “Helter Skelter” motive came when the defense noted that Sylmar was not a predominantly black area.
LOCATION: 12881 Encinitas Ave, Sylmar, CA 91342
Manson then walked over to this Denny’s and ordered a chocolate shake. The Denny’s still stands there today.
LOCATION: 12861 Encinitas Ave, Sylmar, CA 91342
Manson, Grogan, Kasabian and Atkins then went to this apartment building on Venice Beach, looking to commit the next murder. They came here because Kasabian remembered a resident there she disliked. After knocking on a door and failing to find the correct apartment unit, which Kasabian later claimed to have done intentionally to avoid more killings, the group abandoned plans to commit murder here. Upon making their way down the stairwell to exit, Susan Atkis deficated in the building before leaving.
LOCATION: 1011 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291
The morning after the LaBianca murders, the family arrived at the house. Noticing some unusual activity; the fact that the LaBianca’s boat had been left out and the curtains were drawn closed, they went across the street to phone the police.
LOCATION: 3306 Waverly Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027
In the wake of the murders, The Manson Family fled to Barker Ranch in Death Valley. It was here that Charles Manson was eventually captured. You can read our article about Barker Ranch here.
LOCATION: Just off of Goler Wash Rd, Death Valley National Park, Panamint, CA 93592 (easiest access is via Ballarat, CA, GPS coordinates: 35°51′34.57″N 117°5′18.76″W)
While at the Sybil Brand Institute, Susan Atkins confessed to a cell mate named Virginia Graham about the Tate Murders. Graham in turn shared what Atkins had told her with homocide detectives, which eventually helped lead to the indictment of Charles Manson. The prison shut down in 1997, but today the grounds are still owned by the Los Angeles sherrif’s office, where it is used by warehouse companies and for filming purposes. Walking the grounds, however, it still very much feels like a prison.
LOCATION: 4500 City Terrace Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90063
The trial for the Tate/LaBianca murders was held at the Hall of Justice in downtown Los Angeles.
LOCATION: 211 W Temple St, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Members of the Manson Family who were not incarcerated sat at this corner on Broadway and Temple, speaking with media throughout the duration of the trail. After Manson shaved his head and carved an X into his forehead, the members followed suit.
LOCATION: Intersection of N Broadway / W Temple St, Los Angeles, CA 90012
After Manson was convicted and sent to Folsom Prison, Family members Sandra Good and Lynette Fromme moved into the attic unit of this house in Sacramento, in order to be nearer to him.
LOCATION: 1725 P St, Sacramento, CA 95811
There used to be an outdoor starcase on the side of the house leading to the attic unit, which has since been removed.
Over at the Historic Sacramento City Cemetery, a famous photo of Lynette Fromme and Sandra Good wearing robes was taken for a German magazine at this grave plot. The gravestone is marked Heintz at plot B83 276. It actually sits very near the entrance at the intersection of Broadway and Ninth St. From there it can be found 2 plots forward, 4 plots to the left.
LOCATION: 1000 Broadway, Sacramento, CA 95818
On September 5, 1975, Lynette Fromme left her house on P Street dressed in a red robe and came to the California State Capitol building in Sacramento. She stood at this tree and aimed a gun at then President Gerald Ford, who was walking past. Secret Service members immediately subdued her with no shots fired. For her crime, she served 34 years in prison before being paroled in 2009. The easiest way to reach the tree where the incident happened is from the intersection of 12th St and L St. Ford was leaving the Senator Hotel and crossed that intersection, heading for the California State Capitol building.
LOCATION: 1315 10th St, Sacramento, CA 95814
The final tenant of the original Cielo Drive residence before it was demolished was Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. When Trent relocated from Los Angeles to New Orleans, he took with him one piece of the Cielo property; the infamous door that had “Pig” scrawled in Sharon Tate’s blood by Susan Atkins. Trent purchased this former funeral home in New Orleans in 1995 and converted it into a recording studio. He had the Cielo door installed as the front entrance to the studio. Trent would eventually relocate back to Los Angeles in 2004, this time leaving the Cielo door behind for good. The building stood vacant until 2010, when it was purchased by a surgeon looking to convert the property into a retail area. It has since been remodeled beyond recognition, but we managed to visit back when the original building still stood. The door at the front entrance to the former studio on Magazine Street sat behind a steel gate and remained until around 2012, when the building was completely remodeled. The door was preserved and sold to a private collector named Christopher Moore, who currently owns it.
LOCATION: 4500 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115
After Charles Manson died in 2017, his funeral was quitly held in Porterville, Califonia and his ashes were spread in a nearby, undisclosed location.
LOCATION: 765 W Henderson Ave, Porterville, CA 93257
Here is the back of the funeral home.
There are countless more locations related to these events, which we have not covered. There are also many books that dive much deeper into the subject. We simply aimed to present a visual timeline of one of the most infamous crimes in American history. It is a fascinating, tragic story. It was very real and these are the places where it all unfolded.