Notes From Your City Historian: Summer 2016

Think Fabric!  Think Conservation!

There is no doubt that Culver City has an interesting history! We receive inquiries continuously asking about people, places and things. Did you know that one of the most appreciated areas of our collection is often made of fabric? Yes, first, you probably think of the MGM costume collection for which we are caretaker—but the subject is limitless.

Sharon Shore, who just completed her term as our Costumes Chair, and continues to serve on the committee, offers a broader perspective on the reality that many of our fondest possessions as well as memories involve fabric. This could take the form of a quilt made by someone special, a piece of clothing created for an occasion, a unique pillow made from a grandpa’s ties, an apron constructed to be beautiful and utilitarian, and so much more!

We look for fabrics and patterns to suit our taste, for our draperies, bedspreads, furniture, carpets and beyond. We make time to visit museums like LACMA, the Getty, the Huntington, or Hearst Castle whose collections make us delight in artfully constructed tapestries, costumes, and historic clothing.

Sharon Shore, Director and Conservator of Caring for Textiles, a laboratory for textile conservation, maintains her private practice in Culver City.  She is an amazing resource to our Culver City Historical Society.  We benefit from her skills and mentorship. Sharon recently completed the book of research information on our costume collection. In addition, because of public interest, she and other members of her team constructed a book of the 60+ MGM Costumes. It contains photos with descriptions of each costume for public view.  It is readily available for research and general interest in the Archives.

Our textile experts Denice Renteria (left), Costume Chair and Sharon Shore (right), former Costume Chair prepare mannequins in costumes from the MGM collection.   The striped jacket was worn by Gene Kelly in “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”

Our textile experts Denice Renteria (left), Costume Chair and Sharon Shore (right), former Costume Chair prepare mannequins in costumes from the MGM collection. The striped jacket was worn by Gene Kelly in “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”

Watch for an opportunity in the near future to talk to Sharon in one of our “Conversations” series on special interests, like Costumes and Fabric Conservation!

Here are a few quotes to reiterate the importance of “fabric”:

“If we are to achieve a richer culture, rich in contrasting values, we must recognize the whole gamut of human potentialities, and so weave a less arbitrary social fabric, one in which each diverse human gift will find a fitting place.” (Margaret Mead)

“Counsel woven into the fabric of real life is wisdom.” (Walter Benjamin)

“When the fabric of the universe becomes unknown, it is the duty of the university to produce weavers.” (Gordon Gee)

“If I want to calm down, I’ll buy some fabric, get a pattern, shut myself in a room and stay there for days, really happy. And at the end of it, you get a bedspread or some curtains or something to wear – it’s lovely.” (Twiggy)

Many of Culver City’s historic sites are featured on our fabric “throw” available through our onsite and online shops.

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Happy Birthday to our City Seal

You’ve seen it all over town. On buildings, municipal vehicles, City Council Chambers, official city documents, city flags, and even on the stainless steel sculpture “Filmstrip U.S.A.” in front of the Veterans Memorial Building. But did you know that this seal has been used for 80 years?                                                                                The city seal

On August 3, 1936, by Ordinance No. 453, the City adopted the current official city seal. The ordinance required that “the imprint thereof shall hereafter be impressed upon all official documents in place of the Seal heretofore used, and an enlarged copy of said Seal shall be placed on all motor equipment owned and operated by the City of Culver City.” This ordinance also stated “Around the outer edge shall appear the words, City of Culver City, Incorporated 1917,” and in the center thereof shall appear the inscription ‘Heart of Screenland,’ which inscription shall run through the center of a Shield; in the upper left hand corner shall be depicted motion picture camera equipment indicative of the present major industry in the City of Culver City; in the lower left hand corner of said Shield, shall be depicted a representation of the Golden Bear, emblematic of the State of California; in the upper right hand corner a representation of the rising sun; and in the lower right hand corner shall be depicted a sprig of lantana, the official flower of the City of Culver City.”

That ordinance cited above, signed by Mayor Frank H. Dobson, also included a further description of the seal. It called for unequal sized sections of the shield, with the upper left and lower right being about double the size of the others. It even specified that “the motion picture camera equipment in the upper left hand quarter includes a cameraman upon a wheeled camera dolly, a klieg light turned on, and a reflector screen. The stylized sun in the upper right hand quarter is about 2/3 risen above ground level, and displays seven rays.” The colors are also defined, calling for the upper left illustration “in powder blue and white with the linework in black.” The golden sun is to be upon a “dark blue field.” The city flower, the lantana, was to be illustrated in red with green leaves.

Our seal serves as more than a civic identifier, but also as a communal unifier. That it celebrates 80 years this year is a testament to our city’s tradition and history that we hold close.

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July 20 General Meeting and Program

Exploring Culver City Families and Their Businesses:
The Tinger-Eskridges and Culver City Flowers

Multipurpose Room, Veterans Memorial Building, 7 pm

Earl and Virgie Eskridge 1946 (bottom of page)As we approach our city’s 100th year, it is only fitting to share with you the story of another of our longtime family-owned businesses, Culver City Flowers. Earl and Virgie (Tinger) Eskridge’s family has a long history of flower shops in Culver City, beginning in 1934. Earl and Virgie have together and individually been members and given countess hours to the Soroptimists, the Exchange Club, the Elks, and the Historical Society. Earl continues to work with his son, Mike, member of the Lions Club, at Culver Flowers to brighten our community with beautiful flowers and a friendly smile. They raised three sons in Culver City and continue to be a supportive presence.

Join us on Wednesday, July 20, 2016, to explore the history of this family through a PowerPoint presentation, learn about their dedication and how they are woven into the fabric of this city.

All are welcome to enjoy this free program. Entry is through the Archives and Resource Center from the parking area in the back of the building.

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