Marilyn Monroe House Bulldozed: Despite Preservation Efforts, Her Marital Home Turned To Rubble To Make Way For Condos

Marilyn Monroe’s marital home was abruptly brought down by bulldozers. Though protesters were fighting to have the house declared as a historical landmark, it was pulled down to make way for condominiums.

Marilyn Monroe fans in California were devastated and left heartbroken when they realized Marilyn Monroe’s marital home, where she briefly resided between 1944 and 1945, was turned to rubble by the property’s owner, Joe Salem of Hermitage Enterprises LLC. The developer intends to develop condos on the site. The house was built in 1912 and was structurally quite sound, but it did not stand a chance against the mighty bulldozers that brought it down in a matter of hours.

Justifying the tearing down of Monroe’s home, Ken Bernstein, director of the Office of Historic Resources, said, “The house isn’t associated with a productive period in Monroe’s career.”

Despite the fact that the iconic actress and model lived in the house only for a year, her fans considered the building historically significant because it witnessed the transformation of 16-years-old Norma Jean Dougherty from a quiet housewife who resided with her husband, James and her in-laws, to the iconic international sex-symbol that redefined the Hollywood film industry. Marilyn Monroe undeniably set new precedents, broke quite a few barriers, and altered the very fabric of society and how it viewed sex.

Before She Became A Pin-Up Girl Marylin Inspected Parachutes And Spray-Painted Airplanes
Before She Became A Pin-Up Girl, Marylin Inspected Parachutes And Painted Airplanes

However, before she became a dream girl, during the period Marilyn Monroe stayed at the now-demolished house, she inspected parachutes and sprayed fire retardant on airplanes. It was the time of World War II, and every able-bodied woman was asked to do her bit in winning the war. Just like Monroe, many women did all the work that was traditionally done by men as their husbands and brothers were shipped off to war. Interestingly, it was only after Marilyn divorced her husband in 1946 that her modeling career began to skyrocket and Norma Jean became the famous Marilyn Monroe, the heartthrob of every American.

Incidentally, the house was bulldozed even before the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission ruled on the issue. The Commission was supposed to convene today, but the developer dropped the hammer on Tuesday, apparently because he was confident that though Marilyn Monroe did reside there, it was for a very brief period of time and hence the structure didn’t qualify as historically significant.

The demolition may be called up because the South Coast Air Quality Management District claims the proper paperwork had not even been filed ahead of demolition. However, legal proceedings won’t bring back the house in which Marilyn Monroe once spent her days hoping the war would be over.

[Image Credit | Google Maps, L. J. Willinger / Getty Images]

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