Culver City Historical Society To Install New Officers

The Culver City Historical Society’s Winter General Membership Meeting will be an Installation of Officers for 2016-2018, including an hors d’oeuvres reception catered by Holy Cow, on Wednesday, January 20, 2016, from 7:00 to 8:30 pm in the Lethbridge Garden Room of Veterans Memorial Building at 4117 Overland Avenue, Culver City. This will be the installation of Michelle Bernardin’s second term as President as well as a thank-you to the outgoing Board and Committee chairs. The board slate is as follows:

Michelle Bernardin, President
Stu Freeman, Immediate Past President
Janet Chabola, VP Development
Ellen and Arthur Litman, co-VP Museum/Archives
Hope Parrish, VP Programs
Adrienne Bernardin, Secretary
Tami Eskridge, Treasurer

The Installing Officer will be the Chair of Culver City Planning Commission, Kevin Lachoff.

Seating is limited and reservations must be made by Friday, January 15. The price is $25/member; $30/non-member. To RSVP, print this Installation 2016 invitation and send a check (payable to CCHS) to the Culver City Historical Society, P.0. Box 3428, Culver City, CA 90231-3428. No tickets will be sold at the event.
For additional information, email
All proceeds benefit the Culver City Historical Society.

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Notes From Your City Historian: Fall 2015

Your Archives At Work

by Julie Lugo Cerra

Our historical society fields some interesting calls and emails and these two are worth sharing!

In July, an inquiry came in from a woman afar looking for information about a 1920s restaurant called “The Ham Tree Inn,” at 6139 Washington Boulevard. Her grandmother worked there as a waitress when it re-opened in the late 1920s. She had biPage 3 F153 HamTreemenuts and pieces of information and a few photos including one that pictured the building with its “Ham Tree” in front. A second inquiry came in the same week from a long time Fay Avenue resident. Her mother also worked at “The Ham Tree Inn” and across the street at Chris’s Market.

Historic Sites Chair, Jeanne Conklin, went to work! She spread the word, and we used local directories, which provide listings by street address as well…but we did not have access to one for that period. There were other complications. Some street addresses changed over the years, just like Main Street carried numbers in the 7000s early on—only to become the 3000s in more recent times. No luck on the first address.

We used our ties with the city to check old files. People talked to people. Using the photo sent by the the woman, Jeanne and Tami Eskridge (another CCHistorical Society officer and super volunteer, who you have probably seen taking their morning walks Page 3 F15n waitressaround our fair city) headed east one day and kept searching. In the meantime, we learned it was near Fay Avenue across from Chris’s Market, which is still there. The answer was getting closer.

We cruised neighborhoods, and found a building on the 8000 block of Washington Boulevard at Fay. It looked SO familiar-for good reason. Ten years ago, our Culver City Historical Society celebrated its 25th year with a historic car rally that ended at that vintage Culver City night spot. Today, it has a different name, but THAT WAS IT!!! Needless to say, there were some rewarding ties formed between the inquirers and those who helped solve this mystery! And your society is the beneficiary of some added information and vintage photos.

The Ham Tree Inn structure is still standing at 8641 W. Washington Boulevard and is now El Baron RePage 3 Hamtreestaurant & Night Club.

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Fall 2015 Message

Michelle Bernardin, PresidentDear Members,

This time next year, Culver City will commence a year-long celebration of its centennial. The Culver City Centennial Celebration Committee, headed by Councilmember Jim Clarke, was conceptualized almost two years to help plan, coordinate, and carry out events, activities, and projects by individuals and organizations that will celebrate Culver City. Culver City businesses, organizations, schools, and individuals are working on their plans now.

The Historical Society has no intention of overlooking this auspicious marker in our city’s history. I have called a few meetings of a working group, comprised of officers and society members, all of whom have an interest in how we as a society will celebrate the city’s centennial. After a few brainstorming sessions, current working ideas include marking our 14th historical site, a Centennial Founder’s Day Picnic, completing a project that will display all our city’s trustees and councilmembers in the Mike Balkman Council Chambers of City Hall, and a mobile walking tour of our marked historic sites.

The next time we blink, it will be 2016. This organization will enter its 35th year with a newly elected board of officers, who will carry out and build upon the direction we are working out now. I hope you’ll consider joining us in the celebration! As a member, you are always invited to attend an open meeting. Your opinions (and your help) are invaluable to the longevity and continued purpose of this organization.

Thank you for your support of YOUR Historical Society!

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The Culver City Historical Society To Feature The History of the Culver City Police Department

The Culver City Historical Society To Feature The History of the Culver City Police DepartmentThe Culver City Historical Society’s Fall General Meeting and Program will be held on Wednesday, October 21, at 7 pm in the Multipurpose Room in the Veterans Memorial Building at 4117 Overland Avenue, Culver City.

The program will feature Culver City’s Chief of Police Scott Bixby and Captain Ron Iizuka who will speak about today’s Police Department and offer a PowerPoint presentation about its history. Special guests retired police Lieutenants Norman Traub, Frank Augusta and Tom Kendra (who also served as Chief of the Sierra Madre and Palm Springs Police Departments), will share their experiences as members of the Culver City Police Department in the 1950s and speak about the progress in the department over the years.

The public is invited to enjoy this free program. For information call (310) 253-6941 or send an e-mail message to The entrance to the Multi-Purpose Room is through the back of the building near the parking lot, and through the Archive & Resource Center space.


Lieutenants Traub, Augusta, and Kendra all sent in brief biographies, which we share here:


Tom Kendra was raised in Culver City and was a member of the first graduating class of Culver City High School in 1953. He earned an A.A. degree from El Camino College, a B.S. degree from Pepperdine University, and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from USC.

He joined the Culver City Police Department in 1957. He worked a variety of assignments and was promoted to Sergeant and Lieutenant. He left the department in 1971 to accept a position as Chief of Police with the City of Sierra Madre. He returned to Culver City as Assistant Chief in 1974, and resigned in 1977 to accept a position as Chief of Police with the City of Palm Springs. He remained there until his retirement in 1989. Following retirement, he managed a private security firm in Palm Springs and served as Executive Director of the United Way of the Desert before fully retiring in 2000.

He married his high school sweetheart, Marilyn Putnam in 1953. They presently live in Oceanside, California.


I graduated from Culver High School, class of 1955.
I was first employed by the City of Culver City in 1956, delivering mail in City Hall and later working in the tool shed at the City Yard.
In April 1960 I was hired by the Culver City Police Department. During my tenure there, I worked many different assignments including the Detective Bureau, Juvenile Section, Traffic Section, Personnel and Training, South Bay Burglary Team and my last assignment was the initiation of the D.A.R.E. Program in the Culver City elementary schools.
I retired in 1988 having earned the rank of Lieutenant.
Following my retirement, I worked 14 years for GTE/Verizon Communications, managing the workplace Drug Program and later managing the National Fraud Investigations unit.


After graduating from Venice High School he completed an enlistment in the Air Force before joining the Culver City Police Department in 1954. He worked a variety of assignments and rose quickly through the ranks to Lieutenant. He resigned from Culver City after sixteen years to accept a position as Chief of Police of the City of Placentia in Orange County. After ten years in Placentia he resigned to be appointed Chief of Police of the City of Orange. He retired after serving for five years with Orange and subsequently served as Interim Chief of Police and Acting City Manager of several cities throughout Southern California.

He received an A.A. Degree from Santa Monica City College, a B.S. Degree from Pepperdine University and an MPA Degree from the University of Southern California. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and numerous executive development courses.

Since retirement from law enforcement, he has been the President of Norman A. Traub Associates, an organization specializing in workplace investigations. He presently lives in Yorba Linda with his wife, Robin.


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Join the Culver City Historical Society’s At Its Founder’s Day Picnic

Join the Culver City Historical Society’s At Its Founder’s Day PicnicThe Culver City Historical Society invites its members and the community to its first annual Founder’s Day Picnic celebrating the 98th anniversary of the incorporation of Culver City, Sunday, September 20, 2015, from 12noon to 3 pm at the picnic area in Veterans Park, 4117 Overland Avenue in Culver City.

Bring your hearty appetites because a delicious lunch catered by Santa Maria BBQ will offer tender tri-tips, plump juicy chickens, tasty chili beans, potato salad, green salad, garlic bread, soft drinks and a surprise dessert.

Formerly known as our annual “Picnic in the Park,” picnic-goers will be serenaded by Steve Lage. A 50/50 raffle will be held and there will fun for the entire family.

The price for everything is $30 per person for Historical Society Members; $35 for non-members; $10 for children 4-10 years old. Please RSVP by September 17. Checks should be sent to the Culver City Historical Society, P.O. Box 3428, Culver City, CA 90231-3428. Please include the names of all guests. Tickets will be held at the picnic site.

The Archives and Resource Center (ARC) will be open after lunch, and visitors will be able to view displays and exhibits of local history.

For additional information, or to purchase tickets online, go to

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