Culver City Timeline: A Work in Progress

1769
• King Carlos III of Spain mandates colonization of California.

1771
• Mission San Gabriel is established; local Native Americans are known as the Tongva, Gabrielinos, due to their proximity to the mission, or more recently the Kizh.

1780
• José Manuel Machado is recruited, marries María de la Luz in the new cathedral in Los Alamos.

1781
• José Manuel and María de la Luz Machado travel north from Sinaloa on a Rivera expedition.
• The pobladores and escolte (soldier escort) walk from San Gabriel Mission to establish the pueblo of Los Angeles.

1819
• Agustín Machado claims Rancho La Ballona with brother Ygnacio Machado, and Felipe and Tomás Talamantes; they receive a permit for grazing rights.

1822
• Ygnacio Machado begins grazing cattle on Centinela Springs; Mexican rule of California begins.

1834
• Ygnacio Machado builds Centinela Adobe.

1839
• La Ballona grant is approved (cattle, horses grazed, grapes grown for wine).

1849
• California Gold Rush
• Ygnacio Machado trades Centinela adobe for a home at the pueblo.

1850
• California becomes a state.

1861
• Camp Latham, named for U.S. Sen. Milton S. Latham, who also served as California’s 6th governor, is established on Rancho La Ballona land, by the First California Infantry and First California Cavalry-to curb Southern sentiment. (Historic Site #11)

1865
• La Ballona School is the first school (wood frame building) built in the area. The seven month school year allows for work on the ranches. (Historic Site #10)
• Agustín Machado dies.

1868
• Rancho La Ballona is partitioned by court order.

1869
• The first transcontinental railroad is complete – ends western isolation!

1874
• Saenz Family Dry Goods Store opens (at current day Overland Avenue/Washington Boulevard), with Machado Post Office inside.

1878
• Ygnacio Machado dies.

1880
• January 22 – Harry Culver is born in Milford, Nebraska.

1883
• The Figueroas donate land to build St. Augustine’s, the first church (completed in 1887), in what becomes Culver City.

1887
• The Lugo Ranch is established with the marriage of Mercurial Lugo and Rita Reyes Lugo; Lugo was the son of Vicenta Machado de Lugo, one of the daughters of Agustin Machado. (Historic Site #8)

The early 1900s

1905
• Abbot Kinney establishes “Venice of America” as a resort.

1907
• Ivy Park Substation is constructed to provide power for the LA Pacific Railway. (National Register; City of LA Historic Cultural monument #182)

1910
• Harry Culver arrives in California and begins working for I.N. Van Nuys, to learn about California real estate.

1913
• Harry Culver announces his plans for a city at the California Club in Los Angeles, after a year’s study of the local area.
• Culver files Main Street with the Los Angeles County Recorder on property (downtown was on the border of Ranchos La Ballona and Rincón de los Bueyes). (Historic Site #6, plaque on SE corner)

1914
• Palms votes to become a part of Los Angeles.
• Culver City locals vote to remain independent.

1915
• Thomas Ince builds the colonnade as the entry to Ince/Triangle Studios at what becomes Washington Boulevard at Jasmine Avenue, across from St. Augustine’s Church (marked by Native Daughters of the Golden West; city Landmark status). (Current owner is Sony Pictures Entertainment.)

1916
• Culver City Grammar School opens with six rooms (later rebuilt and renamed Linwood E. Howe Elementary School).
• Culver City Grammar School PTA was formed. (Mrs. Dan Coombs, becomes the first president. Her husband becomes a City Trustee in 1917.)

1917
• September 20 – Culver City is incorporated (September 8 election, ordered August 13 by LA County Board of Supervisors).
• First Board of Trustees (now council) takes office: R. P. Davidson, Dan F. Coombs, Walter Edwards, V. R. Day, B. J. Higuera. City Clerk : Chas. F. Shillito, Treasurer: C. N. Rosenthal.
• Resolution #1: Provides for appointment of a city attorney at $50/month.
• Resolution #4: City leases upper floor of the theater from Fannie A. Henderson, located on the Culver Hotel site, for city offices, at $15 per month (published in the Culver City Call newspaper).
Culver City Chamber of Commerce begins operation, incorporates 1921.

1918
• Ince Studios / Triangle Studios becomes Goldwyn Studios.
• Thomas Ince moves east on Washington Blvd.-builds Thos. H. Ince Studios (now The Culver Studios). (Historic Site #7)
• Resolution #11: “In accordance with government conservation, discontinue illuminated sign over City Hall” until general condition of the county improves.
• Resolution #16: Establishes entire city as one voting precinct; polls are located at City Hall.
• Resolution #18: Appoints Pascal H. Burke as City Attorney at $50 per month.
• Resolution #19: Appoints R.P. Davidson as Building Inspector, Plumbing Inspector, City Electrical Inspector at $25 per month.
• Resolution #26: City Treasurer’s salary is fixed at $10 per month.
• Resolution #29: Appoints Dr. W.S. Mortensen as Health Officer at $25/month.
• Resolution #31: Fixes the tax rate at $1 per $100 as assessed by county assessor.
• Resolution #37: Harry H. Culver is appointed as Trustee to fill term of Clyde W. Slater.
• Resolution #38: Paul R. Cowles is appointed City Engineer.

1919
• Resolution #41: Official City map is adopted (defining streets, roads, avenues, highways, alleys).
• Resolution #50: Manuel Saenz is appointed Chief of Fire Department at a salary of $10 per month.
• Resolution #57: Dr. Foster Hull is appointed as the second City Health Officer, replacing Mortensen.
• Resolution #58: appoints City Clerk, Katherine Megary, as Janitor of the City Hall at $25 per month.
• Thomas Ince is operating at his new studio, Thos. H. Ince Studios, his second Culver City studio (today 9336 Washington Boulevard).
• Hal Roach built his studio, destined to become known as “the Laugh Factory to the World” at 8822 Washington Blvd.

The 1920s

Culver City is notorious for its nightlife.

1920
• April election: 37 votes are cast
• Culver City Woman’s Club is established
• Council authorizes the city painter to paint “Culver City” on the roof of six buildings on Main Street.
• City adopts a plan for numbering houses and buildings.
• Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors changes the Palms School District to Culver School District.

1921
• August 27 – Chamber of Commerce incorporates.
• City authorizes a sewer system be constructed.

1922
• Western Stove signals the beginning of industry in Culver City.
• Pacific Military Academy is founded on Washington Boulevard by Harry Culver; moves later to Cheviot Hills.
• City Council changes meeting location to Van Buren Place.
• Resolution #175: City Attorney is authorized to petition the state for a permit to run a municipally-owned bus line between Culver City and the City of Los Angeles.
• Resolution #246: Dancing is prohibited in cafes, restaurants after 11:00p.m.
• Resolution #250: City Attorney is directed to take immediate legal steps because of City of Los Angeles’ failure to abate nuisance in Ballona Creek.

1923
• Culver City Lions Club is established.
• Steller and Skoog Hardware is established on Main Street (closed in 2008).

1924
• Resolution #423: City authorizes a water works system, estimated cost $325,000.
• Thomas Ince dies; wife Elinor takes over Ince Studios temporarily.
• Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (M-G-M) merger.
• Hotel Hunt (later the Culver Hotel) is constructed by Culver; his offices occupied the first two floors.
• Special election authorizes a franchise to Speedway Corporation of Los Angeles to construct an auto race course in Culver City (now Carlson Park area); 50,000 attendees on December 14 opening.

1925
• Legion Building is constructed as a meeting hall over the first swimming pool in Culver City. Hughes Avenue is part of hospital complex. (Historic Site #5)
• Hull Building is constructed as part of the first hospital. (Historic Site #2)
• De Mille Studios (9336 Washington Boulevard) is dedicated (formerly Thomas H. Ince Studios).
• Washington Building is constructed across Culver/Washington”X” from Culver’s hotel (National Register, city Landmark status).
• Washington School opens on McManus Street.
• City executes a lease agreement with Camilo and Marie Louise Cereghino for a library building.

1927
• Cecil B. DeMille is appointed as a “Special Police Officer.”
• Council approves action of the Parks Board and Art Commission to name the first park “Victory Park” (now Carlson Park). (Historic Site #12)
• First land is accepted by the City for Lindberg Park, (second acquisition 1938).
• Bonded indebtedness for Propositions I (City Hall- $126,000) and II (Fire Station $59,000) both pass.
• Ordinance #239: (third reading) Changes Del Rey to Culver Boulevard.
• U. Barnett is appointed as the first School Crossing Officer.
• “First Street” becomes Overland Avenue.

1928
• City Hall at 9770 Culver Boulevard is dedicated. (Historic Site #1)
• Culver City’s municipal bus line is founded (state’s second oldest).
• A City Planning Commission is created.
• City Council takes action to prohibit gambling.
• DeMille Studios becomes Pathe Studios.

1929
• Citizen Building is constructed by the Donovan family (publishers of The Citizen Newspaper) (Historic Site #4; National Register, city Landmark status).
• City Council (Board of Trustees) joins the Lions Club, local citizens and state to prevent the invasion of the Mediterranean Fruit Fly.
• Chamber of Commerce supports the notion of a municipal airport.
• City moves Council meetings from Van Buren Place to the new City Hall at 9770 Culver Boulevard.
• City Council officially refuses “gypsies” a business license at 7024 Washington Boulevard.
• Lantana becomes the official city flower, by Council action.
• City Clerk notifies the School Board that the City Council donated a room in the City Hall to be a dental clinic for school children.
• The Great Depression begins.

The 1930s

1930
• Culver Boulevard ornamental street lights are installed, Ince to Jackson.
• Pathe Studios becomes RKO-Pathe Studios.
• Helms Bakeries Building is constructed; it is occupied by 1932 (Historic Site #9; city Landmark structure).

1931
• Beacon Laundry is constructed (Significant structure, Zig Zag Moderne; later becomes a part of the Helms District).

1932
• Summer Olympics are held in Los Angeles for the first time; Helms Bakeries supplies bread to the nearby Olympic Village in Baldwin Hills, hence, “Helms Olympic Bread” on their historic signage.
• Culver City Kennel Club is granted a permit for canine racing at 13455 Washington Boulevard.

1934
• The City Yard at Jefferson and Duquesne is purchased for $4,000.

1935
• Army Corps of Engineers concretes the sides of Ballona Creek.
• RKO-Pathe becomes Selznick International Studios.

1936
• City Seal (3rd and current one) is adopted with pictorial of city flower (Lantana), movie industry camera equipment, a rising sun, and California Golden Bear, along with the city motto, “The Heart of Screenland,” and the 1917 date of incorporation.
• M-G-M Studios purchases land on Jefferson for outdoor sets (beginning of Lots 3-6).

1937
• The Culver City and Hollywood and Chambers of Commerce hold a “Bury the Hatchet” ceremony at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.

1938
• The “little people” arrive in Culver City to film The Wizard of Oz.
• First land (in Exposition Park) acquired for Veterans’ Memorial Park.

1939
• Major Releases: The Wizard of Oz (MGM) and Gone With The Wind (Selznick International).
• McManus Park land is purchased by the City (now Kronenthal Park).

The 1940s

Hal Roach Studios makes training films as “Fort Roach.” Ronald Reagan and Alan Ladd are among the notables stationed there.

1943
• Selznick International Studios suspends operations.

1944
Culver-Palms YMCA is established.

1946
• After a long lease arrangement, RKO-Pathe purchases “the 40 acres” back lot (The famous back lot, actually 29 acres, was located south east of the main lot, along Ballona Creek).

1947
• Culver City becomes a charter city.
• Betsy Ross, Farragut, and La Ballona schools become a part of Culver City as the charter is approved.

1948
• Western Hemisphere Marathon begins its long run.
• Studio Drive-In begins operation.
• Land acquisition begins for West End Park (now Culver West Alexander Park).

1949
• Culver City became a unified school district (Kindergarten through 12th grade)
• Chamber president, Adolph Steller, promotes the city’s first industrial tract, The Hayden Tract (developer is Sam Hayden).

The 1950s

• Car dealerships are prominent on Washington Boulevard, and major contributors to the local economy.
• Culver Center opens as the city’s first major shopping center.
• The Sister City Program is established (an Eisenhower People-to-People program).
• The Lugo Ranch, at Jefferson Boulevard and Cota Street), is sold and becomes Studio Village Shopping Center.

1950
Veterans Memorial Building’s cornerstone is laid.
• National Guard Armory, a cooperative city-state venture, is dedicated on city property, just west of the VMB.
• Plans are realized for Culver City Junior and Senior High Schools.
Farragut Elementary school opens its doors.

1951
• January – Culver City High School opens its doors.
• Fiesta La Ballona is founded as a celebration of local heritage by the CC Chamber of Commerce.
• Veterans Memorial Building (VMB) is dedicated. (Historic Site #13)
• The Plunge opens next door to the VMB.

1952
• Baldwin Hills and Crank Annexation #1 occur (now Culver Crest).
El Rincon School is built on land donated by developer, R. J. Blanco.
• Blanco Park is dedicated.
El Marino Elementary School opens (now a language magnet school).

1953
• The Culver Judicial District boundaries are determined by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
• Culver High’s first class graduates.

1954
• City purchases property from C. Cereghino for El Marino Park.

1955
• City passes first Charter Amendment.

1956
• Culver Municipal Court is established.

1957
• Desilu Productions in Hollywood adds a second studio site, 9336 Washington Boulevard in Culver City.

1958
• San Diego Freeway is dedicated by Governor Edmund G. (Pat) Brown on the bridge over Washington Boulevard.
• Culver City Guidance Clinic (later folded into Didi Hirsch CMHC) is established as an outgrowth of the Culver City Community Coordinating Council.

1959
• Linda Vista School opens in Blair Hills (part of CCUSD).

The 1960s

1963
• Hal Roach Studios Inc. closes its doors, and becomes the Landmark Industrial Tract.
• Baldwin Hills Dam breaks in December.

1964
• Fox Hills is annexed to Culver City (with Fox Hills Country Club, Hillside Memorial Park).
• Robert Frost Auditorium is completed.
• Culver City establishes its first Sister City relationship (Uruapan, Michoacan, Mexico).

1965
• First condominiums are built in the city (Studio Village Townhouses).
Temple Akiba breaks ground on Sepulveda Boulevard.
Kaizuka, Japan, becomes the second sister city.

1967
• Mayor Dan Patacchia receives a loving cup from Mrs. Harry Culver at the City’s 50th anniversary celebration.
• Second City Charter Amendment passes.
• Doris Hechinger composes first city song, “Culver City.”

1969
• Helms Bakeries closes its doors.

The 1970s

M-G-M divests itself of properties and props (is reduced to the main lot) and Culver City gets a new library at 4975 Overland Avenue.

1970
• Desilu become Culver City Studios.

1971
• Culver City Redevelopment Agency (CCRA) is formed.
• Hazelton Avenue is renamed Kinston Avenue.

1972
• Culver City opens their first Senior Citizens and Community Center in the old library (later the Teen Center).
• Plans submitted develop a community shopping center on west 22 acres of MGM Lot- approved and later disapproved.

1974
• Kaizuka (sister city) designs a Japanese Meditation garden for the front of the Culver City Library as a gift.

1975
• Fox Hills Mall, a Hahn Development, opens (now Westfield Culver City), and becomes a major source of sales tax revenue for Culver City.
• CCRA establishes first Project Area Committee (citizens) under new state law.

1977
• Culver City Studios becomes Laird International Studios.

1979
• Sunrise (later Culver Park) High School opens.

The 1980s

During this decade, four elementary schools close due to declining enrollment (Betsy Ross, El Marino, Linda Vista and Washington School).

1980
• Culver City Historical Society is founded and incorporated.
• Ground is broken for the first of three phases of 40-acre Culver City Park.

1981
• Graffiti Removal Program begins as a public/private partnership.
Culver City Education Foundation is founded to support CCUSD after Prop 13 cut funding.

1983
• Iri City (now Iksan City), Korea becomes the third sister city.

1984
• The Summer Olympics are hosted in Los Angeles (2 miles of the Men’s and first Women’s Marathon run through Culver City).

1985
• Filmland Corporate Center is completed (later Sony Pictures Plaza).
• Marilyn Freiden Clark composed the second city song, “Our Culver City.”

1986
• Lorimar purchases the famed M-G-M Studio Lot.
• Filmland – houses M-G-M, with historic sign on top.
• Gannett purchases Laird International Studios and renames it “The Culver Studios.”
• First Historic Structures Survey.

1987
• “Direction 21” involves the community in strategic planning.
• Sunrise High School becomes Culver Park High School.

1988
• City Council establishes an Art in Public Places program.

1989
Lethbridge, Canada sister city relationship is established.
• Council establishes a Historic Preservation Advisory Committee.

The 1990s

1990
• Lorimar lot acquired by Sony Pictures Entertainment; becomes Columbia Pictures, then Sony Pictures Studio.
• Sony Pictures Studios Executive Arnie Shupack announced that beginning with Hook and Bugsy, the credits of movies made in town would read: “Filmed in Culver City.”
• The Culver Studios becomes a part of the Sony Pictures Entertainment family.

1991
• Council adopts CCMC Chapter 38, codifying historic preservation and designates structures in protected categories (Landmark, Significant).
• A Charette addresses the vision of “Downtown Culver City.”

1992
• Culver City’s 75th anniversary; Hal Roach acts as Honorary Chairman with a January Kickoff (as Mr. Roach turns 100).
• MGM leaves Filmland, moves to Santa Monica.
• Sony Pictures moves into Filmland, is called Sony Pictures Plaza.
• Watseka Parking structure opens.
• April 21 – McManus Park is rededicated as Syd Kronenthal Park.

1993
• February 22 – Fire Station 1 closes; flag is paraded to new station opening a block east.
Yanji City, China establishes a sister city relationship with Culver City (later dissolved).
• Ivy Substation redevelopment is complete.
• October 5 – President Clinton visits Culver City, for an American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) event on health care at Carlson Park.
• Culver City and CCUSD boundaries become co-terminus with the annexation of Fox Hills to the CCUSD.

1994
• January 17 – Northridge Earthquake jars Culver City and damages a number of historic buildings and residences (i.e. King’s Tropical Inn).
• One CCUSD elementary school (El Marino) reopens as a language magnet, for Spanish and Japanese Immersion programs.

1995
• June – Dedication of new City Hall at 9770 Culver Boulevard.

1996
• Downtown Redevelopment creates a new look for the city.
• Charter amendment passes to initiate term limits for city offices.
• Measure T, school bond measure, overwhelmingly passes (80%).
• Culver Hotel renovation is almost completed by Catlett-Historic Hollywood Properties.
• City Council adopts Susan Gregory’s “Culver City, You’re a Star” as another official city song.

1997
• January 10 – Groundbreaking for the new Transportation Facility at Duquesne Avenue and Jefferson Boulevard.
• September 20 – City celebrates its 80th anniversary; first televised Council meeting airs on anniversary date.
• November 10 – Groundbreaking for the renovation of the Police Station on Duquesne Ave.
• Second Charette to address Downtown Culver City.

1998
• April 6 – City Hall Conference Room 1A is renamed to honor Mayor Emeritus Dan Patacchia.
• Washington Streetscape is dedicated.
• Culver City Woman’s Club places an El Camino Real bell on Sepulveda and Jefferson Boulevards.
• TLI, Inc. reopens The Culver Hotel.
• Syd Kronenthal, legendary Director of Human Services, retires.
• The newly constructed mosque on Washington Boulevard at Huron holds a June grand opening.
• Studio Drive-In demolition; groundbreaking for redevelopment as The Classics at Heritage Park and Eras Center (originally Machado property).
• Cardiff and Main Street parking structure breaks ground.
• Culver City Redevelopment project areas are numbered.

1999
• Active Service Clubs include: Lions, Exchange, Rotary, Soroptimist, Optimist, Kiwanis.
• Downtown’s Town Plaza goes through the city approval process.
St. Augustine Church celebrates its 75th anniversary as a parish.
• The Library’s Japanese Meditation Garden rededication celebrates its 25th anniversary.

The 2000’s

2000
• Groundbreaking for new Senior Center at Overland and Culver.
• Measure M is defeated in April election (development issues).
• Town Plaza is vested (entertainment complex).
• December 8 – Congressman Julian Dixon died unexpectedly.

2001
• Issues include the energy shortage, MTA (light rail/bus use of Exposition Right of Way), LAX expansion, and a fast tracking of a Baldwin Hills Power Plant.
• January – rolling blackouts up north due to an energy crisis spread south.
Culver City High School celebrates 50th anniversary of opening.
St. Augustine School celebrates 75th anniversary.
• County Supervisors rename Culver City Library to CC Julian Dixon Library.
• City Council Chambers become Mike Balkman Council Chambers to honor former mayor Balkman, who died 3/01.
Cultural Affairs Commission (5 members) is established by City Council ordinance (combined Art in Public Places with Historic Preservation).

2003
NPR West moves to Culver City.
Culver CityBus celebrates its 75th anniversary.
• New Senior Center opens (on part of former M-G-M Lot 2).

2004
Center Theatre Group opens former Culver Theatre as the Kirk Douglas Theatre, a performing arts venue (long term lease with the city)
• Sony sells The Culver Studios to PCCP Studio City Los Angeles.

2006
• Culver City votes to change the city charter to a City Manager form of government; changes will be enacted in two years.
• The “Boneyard” dog park opens.

2007
• Culver City’s permanent Skateboard Park opens.

2008
• March – Culver CityBus, the second oldest municipal bus line in the state celebrates 80 years of service.
• April – the 2006 charter changes are complete, with new City Manager form of government and transition from elected to appointed City Clerk and City Treasurer.

2009

2010
• July – Huell Howser visits Culver City, Culver Hotel, Veterans Memorial Building and Culver City Historical Society Archives, which becomes “Visiting…With Huell Howser” #1804 (watch the episode here)

2011

2012

2013
• Redevelopment Agencies are dismantled statewide by action of the California Legislature, with support of Gov. Jerry Brown.
• June 20 – Culver City EXPO Line station opens.
• Public Art: Rainbow sculpture unveiled Oct. 1 at Sony Pictures.

2014
Hackman Capital Partners acquires The Culver Studios.
• Measure CC School Bond passes with 75% approval.
• Culver City Council begins planning for the city’s Centennial in 2017. A non-profit is formed to oversee activities by Councilmember Jim Clarke.

Resources

• Files of the City of Culver City
• Culver City Historical Society Archives
• Culver City Chamber of Commerce
• City Historian files

Revisions

City Historian, Julie Lugo Cerra 2/1999, revised 5/1999, 5/2000, 8/2000, 9/2000, 12/2000, 2/2000, 6/2001, 7/01, 1/09, 7/2012, 10/2012, 3/2014, 4/2014, 6/2014

Items in the ARC

An ARC Update
by Winston Gieseke, Vice President, Museum/ARC

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and are working hard to keep your New Years resolutions!

Cecil B. DeMille: Special CC Police Officer - Culver City Historical SocietyCecil B. DeMille: Special CC Police Officer!

I hope one of your goals for the new year was to seep yourself in Culver City history, and I invite you to stop by the museum and see our newest items on display. In addition to the exciting wardrobe pieces set up by our costume chair, Louise Coffey-Webb (see page 6 for details), we have an original badge presented to legendary movie director Cecil B. DeMille in 1927 when he was appointed a Special Police Officer of Culver City. The badge was donated to the museum by Culver City’s former
police chief, Ted Cooke.

(For you history buffs, 1927 was the same year “First Street” became known as Overland Avenue. For more interesting facts from our city’s rich history, visit Culver City Historical Society.org and check out our work-in-progress timeline.)

Original Script from “Remains to be Seen” (1953) on Display

Original Script from “Remains to be Seen” - Culver City Historical SocietyAlso on display is an original shooting script (complete with handwritten notations) and book of wardrobe stills from MGM’s 1953 mystery farce Remains To Be Seen, which starred June Allyson, Van Johnson, Angela Lansbury and Dorothy Dandridge. These items are on loan to the museum and will be on display through the end of February, 2011.

Want to Get Involved?

Are you looking to meet and/or interact with other historically-minded locals? Can you spare an hour or two on a Saturday afternoon? Consider volunteering your time as a greeter during the museum’s open hours.

We are also looking for volunteers to come in and help us catalogue our valuable collection.

An ARC Update…

by Martha and Sol Sigall, Vice President, Archives

SYMANTEC DONATION FROM FOX HLLS DEVELOPMENT SITE

Thanks to our former ARC chair Robin Turner, we have a display of archeological finds from the Fox Hills site of the Symantec development. Robin facilitated the donation of 40 boxes of cataloged items. You can view examples of these items on display now. They include a selection of bottles, ceramic pieces, and even a Giant Pacific Oyster Shell!

CC ROSE PARADE FLOATS

Did you know that Culver City entered its first float in the Pasadena Rose Parade in 1925? And subsequently, we had floats in the thirties, forties, 1950 and again in the 1980s. The most recent were efforts by the Culver City Visitors and Convention Bureau as the Culver City Tournament of Roses Association. Drop by the ARC to see a sampling of vintage photos.

MGM STILLS ADDED TO ARC COLLECTION

Special thanks to our members, Bill and Madelyn Hahn, for arranging for a donation from the Rufus Harrington family. Mr. Harrington, a local resident, worked in the MGM art department and he was also active in American Legion Post #46, using his artistic expertise to design band uniforms for the Legion. The collection includes 42 stills, including photos from The Wizard of Oz, Billy the Kid, Lassie Come Home, Northwest Passage, Blossoms in the Dust among others.

ARC UPCOMING EVENTS

We now have a wonderful new standing screen to separate the display area from our workspace which was made by Dan Bloom, Culver High Class of ’63. We also will use it to show Culver City history via a graphic timeline.

Beginning January, 2009, we will have ongoing showings of our historic DVD and VHS collection. These include a 1925 tour of MGM Studios, “Local History Legends and Lore,” and much more.

Notes From Your City Historian: Winter 2009

Notes from Your City Historian

by Julie Lugo Cerra

A GREAT 2009 AHEAD!

This new year of 2009 is going to be filled with celebrations!

First, it marks the 70th Anniversary of several 1939 classic films. Do you remember the beautiful stamps to commemorate some of those films? In 1990, The Culver Studios hosted an event in Culver City for which the CC Post Office even arranged a local cancellation!

Also, it marks the 90th Anniversary of the opening of Thomas Ince’s second studio, currently The Culver Studios (at 9336 Washington Blvd.), and The Hal Roach Studios – known as the “laugh factory to the world” – which was further east on Washington Blvd. and now remembered with an historical marker at the corner of National Blvd. placed by the Sons of the Desert (The International Laurel & Hardy Society).

The Academy of Motion Pictures Art and Sciences will be hosting another great film series in 2009. Randy Haberkamp, Program Director of the Academy Foundation, tells us it will start in the spring. The ten-film series will feature 1939 film releases, including The Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind, which will bookend the event.

HISTORIC PRESERVATION OBJECTIVES

Historic Preservation is front and center…..and concern is warranted. We will let you know when the proposed new Historic Preservation Ordinance will go to Council and the RFP (Request for Proposal) for a new historic survey.

We marked the Legion Building as Historic Site #5 in 1985, and it is a part of the property that Brotman Medical Center wishes to sell. It holds “significant” historic status in Culver City.

Another structure in potential jeopardy is the 1940 Gateway Station Post Office (see story on pg. 1).

Steve Rose (’64) and I enjoyed opening up the ARC for the Culver High School Class of ’63 Reunion (and other classes thereabouts!) last October 18th. Dan Bloom (’63) has built a screen for us to separate the display area from our workspace. Stop by and see what we are doing with it . . . a timeline in progress! Thanks, Danny!

Note: The Los Angeles Conservancy has again given the City of Culver City a “B-“ rating on their Historic Preservation Report Card …!

Harry Culver met Thomas Ince and history was made!

Reel Culver City

by Marc Wanamaker

HARRY CULVER MET THOMAS INCE AND HISTORY WAS MADE!

After watching silent film producer Thomas Ince film a western on Ballona Creek, Culver City founder Harry Culver was so fascinated with the new medium and its PR possibilities that he convinced Ince to move his Inceville Studios from the beach near Pacific Palisades to Washington Boulevard in Culver City.

In 1915, with Culver’s enthusiastic encouragement, Ince built the first of two major motion picture studios in the new town of Culver City. These two studios (now Sony Pictures Entertainment and Culver Studios) dominated the economic, cultural and civic life of Culver City as well as publicizing Culver City internationally – which was exactly what Harry Culver had in mind.

THE MEN

Thomas Harper Ince was one of the most important and influential figures in the history of the American film industry. His combined output as a director, producer and screenwriter extended to thousands of films during the formative years of the film industry. He introduced production procedures and quality of standards that set the model and helped mold the distinct image of Hollywood films to this day.

Harry Culver never met an event that he couldn’t duplicate, let alone improve upon! He was well known for his innovative style, bringing busloads of possible new residents to free picnics, awarding proud parents prizes for their “prettiest babies” (and there sure were a lot of them!), he held marathons and many other special events. He put ads in the newspapers that read: “All roads lead to Culver City!” His goal was to create a balanced residential/commercial community – and Thomas Ince became an integral part of this plan.

CULVER CITY HOSTS FILM FESTIVALS

This is a brief early history of how “The Heart of Screenland” first began. It is fitting that over the last 90 years – Culver City celebrates its 90th birthday on September 20, 2007 – not only were thousands of films made within the city limits, but several film festivals have been held here as well.

Currently, the Agape Peace Film Festival, sponsored by the Agape International Spiritual Center located in Culver City, was held from March 16-18, 2007. This three-day event is “dedicated to anchoring Peace in our personal lives and on our planet.”

Coming in May, the Sixth Annual Damah Film Festival will be held at the Culver Studios (once the Ince Studios) from May 4-6, 2007. Damah “encourages an emerging generation of filmmakers from diverse perspectives to voice the spiritual aspect of the human experience through film and provides a forum for these artists to develop, discuss and display their vision.”

Most recently, the Second Annual Backlot Film Festival was held from January 30 – February 3, 2007, with its Gala Awards event staged at the Veterans Memorial Building. One of its goals is to pay tribute to the rich motion picture history in Culver City and LA’s Westside, often referred to as The Other Hollywood.”

Its main award is titled the “Thomas H. Ince Award” and is given to those distinguished persons who had worked in Culver City at one time or another and have contributed to the film industry here.

The first Ince Award honoree was Daniel Selznick, grandson of the legendary Louis B. Mayer.

I had the honor of participating in this year’s presentation of the Ince Award to famed writer Budd Schulberg who became famous for his book “What Makes Sammy Run?” about the inner workings of the motion picture studios. Daniel Selznick also spoke about his friend Budd and the history of the Selznick, Mayer and Schulberg families. The award was presented to Budd by actor Ben Stiller and there was an Opening Night interview with film critic and historian, Leonard Maltin.

The artistry of Thomas Ince and the keen eye of Harry Culver has been firmly established, and the Backlot Film Festival will continue their legacy for future filmmakers and filmgoers – heralding the “Heart of Screenland.”

(Special thanks to City Historian Julie Lugo Cerra for the fine history timeline she authored on the City of Culver City website from which many of the above references are made.)