Kent State Massacre
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Famous Crimes Scenes You Can Visit Across America

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Kent State Massacre
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Famous Crime Scenes

Crime scenes can be fascinating places to visit. Many are historically significant and have commemorative markers or even a museum to learn about the events that took place there. Some also happen to be the location where people were killed or died, so memorials are common, as are people paying their respects. Here are some famous crime scenes, what happened there, and what to expect if you visit there today.


Related: Where America's Most Famous Outlaws Are Buried


John F. Kennedy Assassination Site
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John F. Kennedy Assassination Site

Dealey Plaza

Dallas 

The assassination of President Kennedy shook the U.S. to its core in 1963. He was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald as a passenger in an open convertible limousine as part of a motorcade. You can visit Dealey Plaza and the Grassy Knoll where it happened and see a number of historical markers, informational signs and memorials. There's also a museum, the Sixth Floor Museum, in the Texas School Book Depository building where Oswald fired the shots.


Related: 25 Strangest American Conspiracy Theories

Lizzie Borden Home
Lizzie Borden Home by LongLiveRock (CC BY)

Lizzie Borden Home

157 3rd St.

Fall River, Massachusetts 

Lizzie Borden is well known as an axe murderer even though she was acquitted of the crimes. In 1892, her father and stepmother were found brutally murdered in their family home, and it was Lizzie who found the bodies. There were many reasons people thought she was the murderer, including confusing and contradictory testimony and a strained relationship with her stepmother. Today the Borden home is a museum and bed and breakfast. You can take a tour, do some ghost hunting, and even stay in the rooms where the murders took place.


Related: Haunted Destinations That You Can Rent for a Spooky Night

St. Valentine's Day Massacre
Google Maps

St. Valentine's Day Massacre

2122 N. Clark St.

Chicago

One of the bloodiest days in Chicago history was Valentine's Day, 1929. Seven men from the "Bugs" Moran north side gang were murdered in a garage at 2122 N. Clark St. While the St. Valentine's Day Massacre has never officially been solved, it was most likely Al Capone who orchestrated the hit on the rival gang. Today there is no building on the site where it happened, and no markers indicate the significance of the spot. The property belongs to an apartment building, but you can still respectfully take a look around. 


Related: 51 Free Walking Tours From Across the U.S.

Manson Family Cave
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Manson Family Cave

22601 Santa Susana Pass Road

Chatsworth, California

While some of the locations of the Manson murders are destroyed or privately owned, you can still visit Spahn Ranch where Charles Manson and his cult of followers lived for a time. The "family" undoubtedly planned some of their crimes on the farm, and killed and buried a ranch hand on the property as well. Today the Spahn Ranch is empty, overgrown land, but you can visit the cave made famous by a Time magazine photo of Manson and his followers as they huddled in it. There are videos showing the path to make it easier to find.

Villisca Ax Murder House
Google Maps

Villisca Ax Murder House

508 E. 2nd St.

Villisca, Iowa

The tiny town of Villisca, Iowa, was the site of gruesome axe murders in 1912. Eight people in one household were killed with an axe, including Josiah and Sarah Moore, their four children, and two other children who were staying the night. The crime remains unsolved, though one suspect was tried twice with the results of a hung jury and acquittal. The Moore home where the crime occured is a macabre tourist attraction, and you can take a tour or even book an overnight stay.  


Related: The 25 Most Terrifying Places in America


Theodore Roosevelt Assassination Attempt Site
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Theodore Roosevelt Assassination Attempt Site

333 W. Kilbourn Avenue

Milwaukee 

Teddy Roosevelt survived an assassination attempt during a campaign stop in Milwaukee in 1912, and out of it came one of the best speeches he ever gave. John Shrank shot him with one bullet, which passed through Roosevelt's steel eyeglass case and a folded 50-page speech. It lodged in his chest, but did not puncture his lung, so he decided to give his speech before getting medical attention. He started his speech with the famous line, "Ladies and gentlemen, I don't know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot, but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose," and continued to speak for over an hour before finally going to the hospital. It all happened in the Gilpatrick Hotel, which is now the site of the Hyatt Regency, where a plaque and display commemorate the event. 


Site of John Lennon's Shooting
Site of John Lennon's Shooting by (CC BY)

Site of John Lennon's Shooting

The Dakota

1 West 72nd St.

New York 

John Lennon, a former member of the Beatles, was shot and killed outside the apartment building he lived in with his wife Yoko Ono in New York in 1980. That exclusive apartment building, The Dakota, sits across from Central Park and has housed many other celebrities. After Mark David Chapman shot Lennon numerous times, it was the doorman of The Dakota that wrested the gun away from him. The Dakota archway where it happened is on 72nd Street, and you can visit but are not allowed in the building. There's also a Lennon memorial, called Strawberry Fields, located directly across the street in Central Park.


Related: 12 Enduring Quotes From John Lennon


James A. Garfield Assassination Site
Wikimedia Commons

James A. Garfield Assassination Site

National Mall

Washington, D.C.

President James A. Garfield was assassinated only four months into his presidency in 1881. He was scheduled to leave town for a summer vacation on the day he was shot, and the shooter met him at the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Station where he was departing. The station no longer exists, but commemorative and informational markers were installed in the same location, which is now near the south entrance to the National Gallery of Art's west building.


Kent State Massacre
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Kent State Massacre

Kent, Ohio

The massacre of college students at Kent State by the Ohio National Guard during a peace rally against the Vietnam War in 1970 was a turning point in the American psyche. One photograph taken during the incident in which a girl is screaming over a victim's body became instantly iconic and won a Pulitzer Prize. Today, there are a number of memorials on the site where it happened, including sculptures, monuments, and light posts that outline the exact spots where four students lost their lives. 


Related: Destinations That Defined the 1960s


tupac shooting
tupac shooting by (CC BY-SA)

Site of Tupac Shakur's Shooting

Intersection of Flamingo Road and Koval Lane

Las Vegas 

Tupac Shakur was a rapper in the 1990s, and some would argue one of the best ever. His music and charisma inspired many, even while he was involved in the East versus West Coast feud. In 1996, when he was only 25, he was shot while sitting in his car at a red light in Las Vegas by a backseat passenger in a car that had pulled up beside him. He died six days later, and the murder has never officially been solved. Today you can visit that busy intersection to pay respects, as many people do by leaving notes and flowers on an electrical pole nearby. 


Harvey Milk Assassination Site
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Harvey Milk Assassination Site

San Francisco City Hall

Harvey Milk was the first openly gay elected official in California history, serving on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1978. In his 10 months in office, he sponsored anti-discrimination bills regarding sexual orientation, and he's considered one of the most influential LGBTQ public figures in the U.S. In 1978 he was shot and killed inside an office at City Hall by a disgruntled former police officer and fellow city supervisor. Though it's currently closed to visitors because of the pandemic, City Hall usually offers tours of its historic sites, including the chamber of the Board of Supervisors.

Boston Massacre
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Boston Massacre

Old State House

206 Washington St.

Boston 

The Boston Massacre is regarded as one of the pivotal moments in American history when public sentiment against Britain soured. It happened just outside of the Old State House when some boys taunted a British soldier. A crowd formed and the situation escalated quickly. British troops opened fire, killing five and wounding more. Today the Old State House is part of the Freedom Trail as a museum, and just in front of it is a pavement marker on the spot of the Boston Massacre. 


Related: The One Thing You Must Do in Every State

Watergate Hotel
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Site of the Watergate Break-In

Watergate Hotel

2650 Virginia Ave.

Washington, D.C.

The Watergate scandal led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974. It was a years-long political scandal that stemmed from a coverup of a break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters and Nixon's lying about the White House's involvement in the crime. The break-in occurred at the Watergate Office Building, which is part of the chic Watergate Hotel. It's still a huge, busy complex today full of political offices and hotel guests. Hotel room 214 was used by the men who broke into the DNC.


Lorraine Motel
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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Assassination Site

Lorraine Motel

Memphis, Tennessee

The assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. shocked and angered the nation, especially the Black communities and everyone fighting for civil rights. The murder happened at a little motel in Memphis. King was standing on the balcony outside his room when he was shot from a building across the street. Today, the Lorraine Motel still stands, but it's now part of the National Civil Rights Museum complex. A wreath marks the spot on the preserved balcony where King was standing when he was shot. 


Related: 12 Things You Didn't Know About Martin Luther King Jr.


Abraham Lincoln Assassination Site
National Parks Service

Abraham Lincoln Assassination Site

Ford's Theater

511 10th Street NW

Washington, D.C.

President Abraham Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth while attending the play "Our American Cousin" at Ford's Theater. Today, it still operates as a theater, and the presidential box where the shooting happened is preserved much the same way it was, complete with a George Washington portrait. A small museum holds artifacts from that fateful night, including the pistol used to shoot Lincoln and the pillow that laid under his head across the street at the Petersen House where he died.   


Gianni Versace Murder Site
Zillow

Gianni Versace Murder Site

1116 Ocean Drive

Miami Beach, Florida

Gianni Versace was an Italian fashion designer and the founder of the Versace luxury label. He hobnobbed with the rich and famous of the world, and had a mansion in Miami Beach, Florida. It was there that he was murdered by Andrew Cunanan in 1997. Versace stepped out to get some magazines in the morning, and as he climbed the stairs back into his home, Cunanan, who had been on a killing spree, shot him. Today the mansion where he was murdered has been converted into The Villa Casa Casuarina, a luxury hotel and restaurant.

Gardner Museum Art Heist
Wikimedia Commons

Gardner Museum Art Heist

25 Evans Way

Boston 

The biggest art heist in U.S. history happened in 1990 at the Gardner Museum. One night, two men dressed as police officers responded to a call at the museum and tied up the guards. They proceeded to steal over $500 million worth of artwork, including famous Vermeer and Rembrandt paintings. The men have never been caught, and none of the stolen art has been recovered or found, despite there being a $10 million reward. The museum still operates, and you can visit to see the garden and remaining artworks. 


Related: America's Most Iconic Buildings and Monuments

Louisiana State Capitol
Wikimedia Commons

Huey Long Assassination Site

Louisiana State Capitol

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Huey Long was a Louisiana governor and later a U.S. senator. He was assassinated in the Louisiana State Capitol in 1935 after he passed a redistricting bill that effectively ousted an opposing party's judge. That judge's son-in-law, Carl Weiss, shot Long in a Capitol hallway before guards fired back at Weiss, killing him. Today you can still see a bullet hole in a marble column from that night, along with a commemorative plaque and display case full of information about the crime.