Queer Places:
8800 NE 3rd Ave, El Portal, Miami
Summer Street Cemetery Lancaster, Coos County, New Hampshire, USA

Harold Franklin Whidden (November 10, 1884 - March 5, 1952) was born in Cumberland County, Maine, the son of John W Whidden (1856–1909) and Harriet E. Shaw (1859–1917). In 1952, Charles "Chuck" Calhoun, a fifteen-year-old boy, entered Whidden’s home in El Portal, in the northeast section of Miami, and shot him “between the eyes.” Whidden was at the time sixty-seven-year-old and described by newspapers as a “wealthy recluse” and a “wealthy eccentric” living in an “unfinished mansion.” He was found wearing only shorts, and the teenager had driven off in the deceased’s Cadillac. According to reports, the teenager confessed to the murder and claimed the older man had asked him “to do ‘jobs’” for him. While this included being asked “to steal and hold up places,” the boy maintained he had also been asked to “bring boys to his house.” The teenager alleged he had been “victimized by a sex pervert.” Whether or not the boy’s claims were true, sex clearly framed this murder case. While the description of the deceased parallels that of men in Miami like Paul Chalfin and Alden Freeman a few decades prior—he was wealthy, unmarried, extravagant, feminine, and artistic—something had changed by the 1950s. The newspapers were sure to mention that the older man was an art and antique collector, or even a hoarder, who displayed nude photos and art throughout his dark home. This information seemed to corroborate that he was, in fact, homosexual. Records show that he had lived there since at least 1932 and that he worked in Miami real estate in the 1940s. It is also certain that he lived with only his black servant, roughly ten years his junior and similarly unmarried, for several years prior to his murder.

Six months after his death, a will, made nearly five years before he was shot and killed, was ruled invalid and the $67,000 estate went to his six cousins. Under the will, dated July 7, 1947, the bulk of the estate was to have gone to Sidney E. White, a Columbus (Ohio) friend.


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