May is Historic Preservation Month


May is National Historic Preservation Month. The National Trust for Historic Preservation has themed this year “This Place Matters,” and given that Culver City is about to celebrate our centennial year, we couldn’t agree more!

Please join us in representing the Culver City Historical Society as we accept a proclamation from our City Council designating May as Historic Preservation Month this coming Monday:

Monday, May 23, 2016, 7:00 p.m.
Mike Balkman Council Chambers
City of Culver City – City Hall
9770 Culver Blvd., Culver City, 90232

The presentation is at the top of the agenda, brief with a quick group photo. Showing your presence and passion for preserving our city’s history will go far!

With the upcoming celebration of our city’s centennial year, we are also looking for suggestions for a centennial marking, and members to serve on the committee. To learn more about each site already marked, you can search the marked sites section of our website. The site should be at least 50 years old and hold architectural or cultural significance to the city. Send us an email with your suggestions!

If you’re on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), share your favorite Culver City photos. Use the hashtag #ThisPlaceMatters and tag us!

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Teach, Love, Dig

Charles Rozaire

Dr. Charles Rozaire on Sept. 20, 2007, during the 90th anniversary of the city’s incorporation, which we celebrated with a party for the city at the Culver Hotel.

As a friend of the Historical Society, you have repeatedly heard our important message about the need for support, primarily though membership and volunteerism. Here, we highlight another way to donate – the transformative gift. At the end of 2015, the Society was given a sizable and generous gift by noted anthropologist, archeologist, and Historical Society member Dr. Charles Rozaire. Given in memory of his parents Arthur C. and Esther C. (Caldwell) Rozaire, this is one of the largest one-time gifts by an individual in the Society’s 35-year history.

Dr. Rozaire grew up in Culver City, attended Culver City Grammar School, and received his BA, MA and Ph.D. at UCLA. During his career, Dr. Rozaire served as Curator for the Southwest Museum, Curator of Archeology for the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History; taught courses at UCLA, and participated in fieldwork for museums and universities across America. The author of several volumes focusing on archaeological investigations of early island settlements off the coast of California, his life’s work will continue to teach and feed the research of students and archaeologists for years to come.

In 2012, the Historical Society hosted Dr. Rozaire and fellow Society member Virgie Eskridge in a conversation about their early recollections of growing up as friends and schoolmates in Culver City. He also personally assisted the Society with our general research on Native Americans, some of which also was used in our displays. Currently writing his memoir, he has built a legacy that reflects his passion for archaeology, his family and roots in Culver City, and his philanthropic and pioneering spirit.

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Notes From Your City Historian: Spring 2016


The festive marking of the site of La Ballona School, now in its third structure. Did you know that La Ballona just celebrated its 150th anniversary?

The first “historic marker” to commemorate a historic site in Culver City, was placed on the colonnade entry of Thomas Ince’s first studio (now Sony Pictures) by the Native Daughters of the Golden West.  Our own Clarita Marquez Young was a part of that, years before our historical society was established. The next marking took place in Victory, now Dr. Paul Carlson Park, a Culver City Chamber of Commerce action to commemorate the Early Settler Families.

Our society’s marking process calls for identification of historic sites or structures  in Culver City that are at least fifty years old.  The society’s bylaws recognizes a Historic Sites Committee, which submits sites, with justification, to the board for action, with approval by the property owner for placement and wording for a bronze plaque.  Some are placed on a building, while others are mounted in concrete.  The committee orders the marker, within the funds budgeted.  Cost is a function of the size and number of words. From the beginning, our historical society used the opportunity to tell the story of the site.

After our society formed, Charles R. Lugo served as the first historic sites chair.  At that time, the city did not have an historic preservation ordinance, so it was a new venture for all of us.

The Historic Sites Committee plans the unveiling of the marker while the plaque is in production.  Invitations and publicity are sent by the society.  The program is a cooperative effort of the society and property owner.  Although the event itself is a festive occasion, the goal of preserving local history is met over time.

With the upcoming celebration of our city’s centennial year, we are looking for suggestions for a centennial marking, and members to serve on the committee.

To learn more about each site already marked, you can search here.  This is a list of sites we have marked to date:

#1   City Hall

#2   The Hull Building

#3   St. Augustine Church

#4   The Citizen Building

#5    The Legion Building

#6    Main Street

 #7   Ince Studio#2

#8    Lugo Ranch

#9    The Helms Building

#10  La Ballona School

#11  Camp Latham

#12  Culver City’s first park (Carlson)

#13  Veterans Memorial Building

To learn more about the sites marked, volunteer for the Historic Sites committee or offer a suggestion for a Centennial marking, please contact the society!

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Spring 2016 Message

Dear Members and Friends,

Happy Spring! I shy away from commenting in print the lack of materialization that was supposed to be the El Niño, for fear of a deluge by the time this newsletter goes to print. But, our umbrellMichelle Bernardin, Presidentas are for sale (and 25% off!) should such an occasion arise!

Thank you to those who attended the Installation Dinner on January 20. I hope that you will have the chance to meet our newest board members very soon – Ellen and Arthur Litman, co-Vice Presidents of Museum/Archives; Janet Chabola, VP of Development; Ryan Vincent, a classmate of mine from Culver City High School and our new communications chair; and Denice Renteria, costumes chair.

You will also notice our first ad in this issue. At the end of last year, we began to offer space in this newsletter for our members to submit advertisements. 500 newsletters are printed each quarter and are widely distributed. Ads (printed in black and white) cost $150 for 1/6-page (horizontal or vertical, approximately 4-1/2” x 2-3/8”), one ad per issue will be featured, and are available on a first-come, first-reserved basis. Any questions on ad specifications or to make reservations, please contact me directly at Placing an advertisement can enhance your visibility with our membership, and city at large.

I look forward to sharing more of our plans to celebrate our city’s centennial as they start to take shape. Visit our website and like or follow us on the social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) to keep connected with us!

Thank you for your support of your Historical Society!

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April 2016 General Meeting: Robert Frost Auditorium Renovation Architects


Photograph by Julius Schulman, c. 1963

Hodgetts + Fung Design and Architecture Firm to Join April 20 General Meeting and Program

The Culver City Historical Society invites its members and the community to learn about the exciting changes planned for Culver City High School’s landmark Robert Frost Auditorium at the Society’s April General Meeting and Program.

Robert Frost Auditorium, designed by architectural firm Flewelling and Moody and completed in 1963, was built in the Organic Modern style, and featured a ground-to-roof black glass façade, non-ornamental brick exterior and distinctive semi-circular pleated reinforced concrete roof that, when viewed from above, resembles a massive handheld fan. Futuristic for its time (it has been featured in the science-fiction films Gattaca and Woody Allen’s comedy sci-fi film Sleeper) and continually heralded as one of the best-designed Modern structures, the building survived the 1994 Northridge Earthquake unscathed, but nevertheless has suffered from the ravages of time and some ineffective internal systems.

Hodgetts + Fung Design and Architecture Firm, which recently completed work on the Nashville Ascend Amphitheater alongside the Cumberland riverfront, will join the Historical Society at its April General Meeting and Program on Wednesday, April 20th 7 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room of Veterans Memorial Building, 4117 Overland Avenue in Culver City.

The firm’s co-founders Craig Hodgetts and Hsinming Fung are scheduled to discuss their ambitious renovation plans for the interior of Robert Frost Auditorium, including the expansion of back-of-house spaces, a steel proscenium arch, handicap access and new air conditioning, lighting and electrical systems.


About Hodgetts + Fung Design and Architecture: Hodgetts + Fung is a studio made up of architects and designers with special expertise in the design of unique places for learning, cultural events and civic functions. With complementary backgrounds in urban design, architecture and industrial design, partners Craig Hodgetts and Hsinming Fung have a singular ability to integrate divergent needs in order to create memorable designs for significant projects. Their approach to this work is multifaceted – embracing visitor experience, technology and iconic presence in a disciplined process resulting in a bold, uncompromising architecture. This method has been instrumental in achieving a fusion of architecture and contemporary culture, which advances the objectives of our clients as well as their communities.

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