Notes From Your City Historian
by Julie Lugo Cerra
On September 20, 1917 the City of Culver City was incorporated, so this month marks its 85th anniversary! In 1917, the city’s elected council was called a Board of Trustees and the following elected officials took office: R.P. Davidson, Dan F. Coombs, Walter Edwards, V.R. Day, and B.J. Higuera, with Chas. F. Shillito as City Treasurer, and C. N. Rosenthal as the City Clerk.
WHAT DID THE CITY LOOK LIKE IN 1917?
There was one major studio at 10202 W. Washington Boulevard, (now Sony Pictures), the beginning of Thomas Ince’s first studio in town with glassed-in silent film stages behind the colonnade. Ballona Creek was a tree and watercress-lined waterway, still meandering through the valley. Main Street had been filled with the County Recorder and building had begun.
HARRY CULVER LOCATES ON MAIN ST.
City founder Harry Culver’s real estate offices were located on Main St. where he would eventually have a sales force of hundreds. He had become the proud father of daughter Patricia the month before the city was incorporated and people were just discovering what a creative entrepreneur Culver was. He used a variety of publicity promotions such as a klieg lights, marathons, bus rides for a “free lunch,” and rewarding the parents of the “Prettiest Baby Contest” with a lot in town.
That initial year, the first resolution was adopted. It provided for the appointment of a City Attorney at $50 a month. Resolution #4 authorized the lease of the upper floor of the theatre at $15 per month. That site is now the Culver Hotel. It was a mere year before the city officials felt they should, “in accordance with government conservation, discontinue the illuminated sign over City Hall” until the general condition of the county improved.
As 1918 continued, the trustees adopted Resolution #16 which established the entire city as one voting precinct. The polls were located at City Hall. By 1920, all 37 votes were cast!
And so the city conducted its business and grew dramatically from the 1.2 square miles centered about Main Street. By 1971 it decided to redevelop itself, and we continue living its history – play a part!
Calendar reminder: This year’s Machado Reunion will be held at the Centinela Adobe on September 25th.