From Abraham to the Sepúlvedas

You can always tell who’s new to Culver City by their mispronunciations of two of our most important streets: Duquesne (Doo-KEZ-nee, instead of Doo-cane, which is the proper French pronunciation) and Sepulveda (Sep-pull-VEE-duh, instead of Seh-PUL-vih-duh, which is the proper Spanish pronunciation).

Duquesne Avenue runs through the heart of Downtown Culver City, and Sepulveda Boulevard is one of the longest streets in Los Angeles County.

Who were these streets named after?

Abraham Duquesne (born 1610 in Dieppe, France) was one of the French Navy’s greatest captains, and he also sailed for the Swedish Navy. He often fought against the

Duquesne

Spanish Armada for France, and against the Dutch for Sweden. During the Franco-Dutch War, he fought against the combined Dutch-Spanish fleet in the Battles of Stromboli and Augusta in 1676, which resulted in the death of Dutch Admiral Michel Adriaanzoon de Ruyter. Duquesne was only able to ascend to lieutenant general because of his steadfast refusal to convert from being Protestant. His grandnephew Michel-Ange Duquesne de Menneville was a Governor General of New France, founded Fort Duquesne at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers and is the namesake of Pittsburgh’s Duquesne University.

 

 

Sepúlveda

Francisco Xavier Sepúlveda y García (born 1742 in Villa de Sinaloa, Mexico) was patriarch of the Sepúlveda family, who the street was named after. In 1839 his son Francisco Sepúlveda (born 1775 in Sinaloa) was granted 33,000 acres of the Rancho San Vicente and Santa in recognition of his services to the Mexican government. Eventually, all thirteen of Francisco Sepúlveda’s children controlled large ranchos, with María Ramona Sepúlveda marrying José Agustín Antonio Machado, one of the grantees of Rancho La Ballona, which included present-day Culver City.

 

So the next time you hear these great street names mispronounced, you can school any newcomers with a little history too.

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Notes From Your City Historian: Spring 2017

Looking Back

Culver City’s Centennial year presents a wonderful opportunity for nostalgic looks back into our rich history. The last big celebration was the 75th Anniversary. Coordinated by the office of Syd Kronenthal, director of Parks and Recreation, the city formed a steering committee. It included Paul Jacobs, chair, Charles McCain, vice-chair, Susan Berg, secretary, and members Carolyn Cole, Jake Jakubowski, Syd Kronenthal, Carol Layana, Julie Lugo Cerra, Raechel Moskowitz, Steven J. Rose, Charles B. Smith and Albert Vera.

Culver City FilmFest graphics, 1992

The group offered a broad scope of community expertise, which included city employees, elected officials (city and school board), commissioners, senior activists, Chamber of Commerce, YMCA, and Homeowners Association leaders. Several of the members’ own history began in the Heart of Screenland. Local moviemaker Hal Roach, who was celebrating his 100th birthday that year, acted as the honorary chair.

75th Anniversary magazine (Culver City News)

That kickoff began on the steps of the Irving Thalberg Building on a historic movie lot (now Sony Pictures). Roger Mayer, then with Turner Entertainment, helped plan a Culver City Film Festival that featured selected short subjects and classic movies. The Chamber of Commerce sponsored a 75th Anniversary coffee table book. The Culver City News published a special oversize magazine with articles on the history of the city, and its many organizations, many of which took out ads to facilitate its publishing. The YMCA sold anniversary lapel pins, and that was just the tip of the iceberg! The 90th was also celebrated.

Pins for (from left) Culver City’s 90th celebration, centennial, and 75th.

 

For the Centennial, a 501(c)3 was formed in 2016 to manage activities, official events and products. Jim Clarke (now mayor) was the first chair, followed by former mayor Paul Jacobs. A kickoff, parade, gala at Sony Pictures Studios, commemorative lapel pins sponsored by the YMCA, and creative logo items are symbolic of the spirit of the year. We look forward to visits from our city founder’s family. Grandsons Chris Wilde, Dr. John Battle and family have been invited to represent the Culver family for the actual anniversary in September. Join the fun to celebrate our history. And think about items that should be included in a time capsule for our first hundred years!

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April 19 General Meeting and Program

Stu Freeman

This month our program takes us on a trip from Latvia to Culver City where Stu Freeman, a local businessman and past president of the Culver City Historical Society, pays tribute to his grandparents and family. Molly and Louis Freeman opened Freeman’s Market in downtown Culver City in the 1920s. They serviced many country clubs, restaurants, the MGM Studios, and even Leo the Lion ate their products! Later, they opened Freeman’s Furniture in the Hull Building, still owned by the family and now hosting the Akasha Restaurant.

Hull Building

The Freeman family has been an integral part of Culver City. Their history will be presented through a PowerPoint presentation that also will also describe the many uses of the historic Hull Building over the years.

“While celebrating our Centennial, I congratulate the city that my family has been a part of for 90 of its 100 years,” Stu says.

Prior to the program, we will have a very special presentation, as Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Shapiro and Rabbi Zachary Shapiro of Temple Akiba will officially gift the Historical Society an original letter by Harry Culver to the Hal Roach Studio about (what else?) the mail delivery.

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

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Spring 2017 Message

Dear Members and Friends,

Happy Spring! In an effort last spring to promote our historic photos umbrella, I Michelle Bernardin, Presidenttempted fate by scoffing at the El Niño that never materialized… Who’s laughing now? (But our umbrella is still the best and available at 25% off for these rains that will not end!)

One of our great pleasures in celebrating the Centennial has been to bring you programs that highlight several longtime families and their local businesses. As we saw with the Veras and the Eskridges, these are families who are indelibly quilted into our city’s fabric and history. Our April 19 General Meeting and Program will highlight another Culver City family and their businesses – that of Historical Society past president, Stu Freeman. If you have walked into Akasha, Goda Yoga, or Alandale’s, then look to property owner Stu… but you will learn so much more.

As I continue sharing more of our plans to celebrate our city’s Centennial, please visit our website and like or follow us on the social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) to keep connected with us!

As always, thank you for supporting your Historical Society! We cannot do this without you.

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January 18 General Meeting and Program

Our City Founder, Harry H. Culver

Multipurpose Room, Veterans Memorial Building, 7PM

 

In celebration of our city founder, Harry H. Culver’s January 22, 1880, birthday, City Historian Julie Lugo Cerra will offer a look back into Culver’s dream city. Many of us remember the Culvers’ only child, Patricia, helping out at the annual fiestas, and even taking our bus tours as a special guest! We enjoy a wonderful tie to our founding family, which continues with Pat Culver Battle’s tradition of being a ready resource for photos and records of Harry Culver’s life and plans. Cerra will give a visual presentation and discussion using many of these materials.

p-1-harry-h-culver-1913

Harry H. Culver (1913)

Take time to visit our Archives and Resource Center that evening as well, to view special Culver-related items, like the original ads that Mr. Culver designed to draw residents and businesses to Culver City.

 

Members and the public are invited to enjoy this free program. Entry is through the ARC from the back parking lot.

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