Marking #14

Rollerdome, exterior (Culver City Historical Society)

As a founding member of our Culver City Historical Society, it is hard to express the depth of my great pride as we plan the marking of Historic Site #14, the Rollerdrome.

The Rollerdrome opened in 1928 on land annexed to Culver City in 1924, first inhabited by Tongva Native Americans. It could accommodate more than 200 people and became an important fixture in our social scene. The site of the Rollerdrome became Tellefson Park, built and named during the U.S. Bicentennial celebration in 1976. Michael Tellefson served Culver City as city attorney, mayor, and chief administrative officer. If you lived on Irving Place, you might have known the Tellefsons.

Rollerdome, interior (Culver City Historical Society)

As a researcher, I can honestly say that residents and visitors who spent time at the Rollerdrome always have wonderful stories to tell—from the dress code (no jeans), to their birthday parties and skating competitions! We have gathered detailed information and memories from notable residents like Virgie Eskridge, Ethel Ashby, Jean Barker, and many others—like the Rollerdrome’s organ, which became a reality in 1929, a few years after it opened. Most even remember the name of Mr. Osterloh, the organist who played music for “Couples Skate,” “Singles Skate,” and “All Skate.”

A kind donor parted with his sister’s skates, an amazing gift to our society, still housed in the original case! The skates bring back memories to the delight of many visitors! We will make sure it is on display again as we mark the site.

We have been working with our wonderful city staff, headed by City Manager John Nachbar, and our Parks and Recreation staff, headed by Corey Lakin and Patrick Reynolds. We look forward to unveiling the marker before the year’s end (before some planned upgrades to the playground) and hope you join us for the celebration. Check back here and on social media for the big announcement!

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Fall 2019 Message

Dear Members and Friends:

Hope ParrishMy very best wishes to all of you as we approach fall and 2020!  We have had a great year! 

As the Society continues to grow, we are involved with local and citywide events, requiring volunteers. Life is busy, and I know this firsthand. But for the Society to continue to be viable, we need you! I know many of you would consider this opportunity but think, “I don’t know our city’s history. How can I be of any help?” Well, it’s simple – you start by showing up, and we promise to share our knowledge about our city so you can pass it on to others. If you love Culver City as much as we do, I encourage you to join us.

This is also election time for our 2020-2022 Board.  We have a few openings that are vital to our Society:

  • VP, Development: This position manages merchandise sold online and in our Archives store, and develops ideas for events and fundraising, including the Founder’s Day Picnic. This is a voting position. 
  • VP, Museum and Archives: This position works with the collection and displays in the museum and manages the open hours each month. This is a voting position.
  • VP, Programs: This position selects program topics that are presented at the quarterly General Meetings. This is a voting position.
  • Communications Chair: This position keeps the Historical Society’s good name out in the press through releases and our quarterly print newsletter. (Social media and InDesign knowledge are NOT a requirement.) Non-voting position.
  • Volunteering: Choose your own adventure! We participate in about six events each year that require a friendly face handing out swag. 

These positions are exciting and can be shaped by you. I have personally found my time volunteering to be rewarding, as have our current and previous board members. As the Society’s president, I am asking you to consider these positions. If the Historical Society is to continue to grow and operate in the years to come, we need you!

Please feel free to call me if you would like to know more.  

Thank you!

Hope
Cell: (310) 880-6335

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October 16 General Meeting and Program

The Animation History of MGM

The MGM Cartoon Department brought the world Tom & Jerry, Droopy, Barney Bear and many more characters loved the world over.

Legends of hand-drawn animation including Hanna and Barbara, Tex Avery, and Chuck Jones were responsible for hours of animated shorts, some of which were filmed in 3-strip Technicolor, some produced in CinemaScope, and some won the Academy Award for Best Animated Shorts.

Jerry Beck

On Wednesday, October 16 at 7 p.m. animation historian Jerry Beck will give a talk and video presentation on the animation history of MGM, including a tribute to beloved painter, inker, and Society member Martha Sigall.

Jerry Beck is a writer, animation producer, college professor, and author of more than 15 books on animation history. He is a former studio executive with Nickelodeon Movies and Disney, and has written for The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. He has curated cartoon home video compilations and has lent his expertise to dozens of special feature documentaries and audio commentaries. Beck is currently on the faculty of Cal Arts, teaching animation history.

Historical Society members and the general public are invited to enjoy this FREE program in the Multipurpose in Veterans Memorial Building, located at 4117 Overland Avenue. The entrance to the ARC and Multipurpose Room is from the back parking lot.

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Getting Ready to Mark History!

I admit I am feeling a little nostalgic! I remember a call from my mom, shortly after my dad,

City Hall, Pictured in the 1950s. (Historic Site No.1)

Captain Charles Reyes Lugo, retired from CCPD in 1979. After reading about the formation of a Culver City Historical Society, she realized that his Lugo family history could be a benefit to keeping him active with community service. I promised to take him to the first meeting of our Historical Society at the home of Fire Chief John Kearney and his wife Mildred.

Soon after that first meeting, Dad became our first Historic Sites Chair and the Society began a program of marking historic sites at least 50 years old. We celebrated marking our first site in 1981, the 1928 City Hall (where City Hall stands today), ten years prior to the adoption of our city’s Historic Preservation Ordinance. In the 1980s, the City of Culver City acted to fund a survey of historic structures. A Historic Preservation Advisory Committee formed and the final document, completed by 30th Street Architects, was adopted by our City Council in 1991. A Cultural Affairs Commission was appointed by the council in 2000, which folded Historic Preservation and Art in Public Places together. In 2004, oval city plaques were ordered and installed on historic structures designated by the city as “Landmark” or “Significant.” The National Register has also recognized structures in our city.

City Hall with Street Sweepers (Julie Lugo Cerra)

Our historic plaques are traditionally bronze, mounted in concrete or affixed to the structure. The Society fundraising pays for these narrative markers. I encourage you to visit our website — culvercityhistoricalsociety.org/historic-sites — then go outside and explore the 13 sites we have marked. We are thrilled to mark our 14th site later this year, The Rollerdrome. We will also be mounting an exhibit in the Culver City Historical Society Archives to celebrate and share items, such as an original pair of roller skates. Announcements will go out soon! Join the fun!

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Summer 2019 Message

Hope ParrishSummer Greetings to our newest members and to our loyal lifetime and annual members who support us each year! We had a busy Spring!

In April, the Historical Society began work on a new collaboration with Culver City High School. We joined the Wende Museum and other local business at the Student Career Day. Our plan is to begin a volunteer internship program with our local students who have a desire to learn about Culver City history and preservation. We have lots of interest, which is exciting!

I hope everyone enjoyed the April General Meeting and Program, “From Barney Fife to Beats: Culver City’s 40 Acres Backlot.” Standing room only, we were taken back in time with Steve Bingen and Mark Wanamaker.

Steve Newton has our thanks for the time and care he put into a wonderful display of Culver City Car Club memorabilia at the ARC. Our visitors enjoyed it while we opened during the Exchange Club Car Show.

Special thanks to the Culver City Council for recognizing our work during May’s Historic Preservation month. We had a great show of support from our members and volunteers to accept a City proclamation.

Did you “Spring clean?” Cleaned out a closet, garage, or attic? Came across something related to Culver City’s historic past? A photo, business card, menu, or matchbook from a business that is no longer here? Let’s see what you got! Your Historical Society can be the new home of your Culver City treasures, preserving and displaying them for future guests to view. Send a photo and brief description of your treasures to info@culvercityhistoricalsociety.org. We want to continue our growth and be a rich source of research for our community.

I look forward to seeing you!
Hope

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