William H. Parker joined the LAPD in 1927. He grew up in South Dakota, in the towns of Lead and Deadwood. Much has been written about him. But an interesting take on his life can be gleaned from accounts of his adventures in Los Angeles through the eyes of his hometown.

William h. parker's first lapd portrait, 1927   photo: Herald-examiner collection / los angeles public library

William h. parker's first lapd portrait, 1927

photo: Herald-examiner collection / los angeles public library

1910 Census William Parker age 4 Deadwood SD.jpg


This is the 1910 Census showing future LAPD Chief William H. Parker, age 4, living with his family in Deadwood, South Dakota. (See line 86.)

This map is the best approximation of the location of the Parker family home in 1910.

The Daily Deadwood Pioneer-Times (Deadwood, South Dakota) · 19 Apr 1923.jpg

A touch of homesickness?

In 1923, Parker, now living in Los Angeles, penned a letter to his hometown newspaper expressing how he missed his old hometown. It read:

Los Angeles Calif., April 16
Editor The Pioneer-Times
I was prompted to write this letter
by something I saw this evening
which goes to show how really
small the world is. I am an usher
at the California Theatre, one of the
largest in Los Angeles and every day
week we show "Topics of the Day"
which consists of humorous sayings
taken from the magazines and the newspapers all over the country.
Tonight while looking at these,
this one was flashed on the screen.
"We are always trying to make
both ends meet, but someone
always moves the ends." I was certainly
surprised to see "Deadwood
Pioneer-Times" written underneath.
It made me feel glad to hear a couple of thousand Los Angeles people
laugh at a humorous saying which
came from the old home town paper
I didn't hesitate to tell the
other ushers about it.
One would think that out here In
tho land of eternal sunshine and
flowers that everything else would
be forgotten, but it takes more than
these things to make me forget the
old town and I have a continual
longing to see the place again, and
I look forward to the day when this
wiII come to pass, even If it's just for a short while.
2618 San Morino St.
Los Angeles Cal.

Assuming that "Morino" is a typo, this building, built in 1909, is where Parker was likely living when he wrote that letter in 1923. It's located in what is now the LAPD's Olympic Area.


An interesting aside...

In the 1997 film "L.A. Confidential," the scene where Exley and his partner get into a major shootout was filmed at 2618 San Marino. I have a suspicion that the filmmakers had no idea at the time that the building they were shooting at had once been home to future LAPD Chief Parker. In fact, I can't find any reference on the Internet that makes this connection, so I'm pretty certain that you read that here first!

1930, married with new digs

The 1930 Census shows Parker and his first wife living at 1040 West 43rd Street

Deadwood Pioneer-Times (Deadwood, South Dakota) · 03 Aug 1938.jpg

A proud hometown

By 1938, Parker was a Lieutenant, and this article from the Deadwood Pioneer-Times praised the hometown boy made good.

The referenced LA Times feature is shown below.


By 1940, Parker and his wife Helen were living at 2214 India Street in Los Angeles.






This is the house as it looks today

Deadwood Pioneer-Times (Deadwood, South Dakota) · 18 Jun 1941.jpg

A visit home

The June 18, 1941 edition of the Deadwood Pioneer-Times documents Parker's visit to his boyhood home.

The folks back home were proud of Bill Parker, as evidenced by this article in the Deadwood Pioneer-Times shortly after Parker was appointed Chief of the LAPD in 1950.

Deadwood Pioneer-Times (Deadwood, South Dakota) · 08 Aug 1950.jpg