Notes From Your City Historian: Summer 1998

by Julie Lugo Cerra

 

• It was clearly the “Heart of Screenland” when the Washington Streetscape Project was dedicated on May 30, 1998 (see photos on front page). Participating in festivities that included our own “Walk of Fame” tree surroundings inscribed with movies they made were Kathryn Grayson, Betty Garrett, Margaret O’Brien, Martin Landau, and Nanette Fabray. Film archivist Marvin Paige and Tony Anselmo, the voice of Donald Duck, were added bonuses.

Former Councilmember Mike Balkman was summoned to kick off the event with the current CCRA/Councilmembers: Sandi Levin, (Mayor), Richard Marcus (Vice Mayor), Ed Wolkowitz (Agency Chair), David Hauptman and Albert Vera.

In addition of city/agency staff headed by CAO Jody Hall-Esser, visiting officials included Yvonne Brathwaite Burke, L.A. County Supervisor, 2nd District, Herb Wesson from Burke’s office, Kevin Murray, Assemblymember, 47th District, and Joey Hill from Murray’s office.

More than one of the stars remarked about the positive changes made by Culver City Redevelopment as they each received a key to the city and a commendation. They toured the area in the trolley, stopping to have photos taken at their own tree surroundings. More than once, Vice Mayor Marcus surprised everyone with his musical ability when he joined the stars in songs from the movies. Live music was provided for the event by Benn Clatworthy Jazz Quartet, and other activities including a scavenger hunt, a fencing demonstration by the Westside Family Center, an art display and a trolley tour. Raffles and refreshments rounded out the event.

To check out the 62 tree surrounds, take a walk east on Washington Blvd. beginning at National Blvd. The project also includes a banner program, new bus shelters, and the Ballona Creek Towers.

• Syd Kroenthal retired with 52 years of service to the City of Culver City on June 30, 1998. Kroenthal, for whom a parks was renamed, eased out of his position, by accepting a commendation from the City Council at a ceremony on June 22, 1998, with a reception in the Daniel L. Patacchia Conference Room at City Hall following. If you need him, “Uncle Syd” is still around, and can be reached on his city number as he works to catalog his collection of memorabilia. (see photo). He will also be working more closely on CCHS projects in the future. Don Rogers now occupies the position of Director of Human Services.

• As City Historian, I receive some pretty interesting questions. The latest call to make me smile required that I locate the burial place of actor Jeff Chandler. (If you guessed Hillside Memorial, you are right! But what was his real name? Hint: Ira ___?)

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