Notes from From your City Historian
by Julie Lugo Cerra
Culver City’s upcoming Centennial (2017) offers a little time to delve back into our city history. We are fortunate to have access to some incredible documents, ads, and family history on Harry H. Culver, our city founder. Culver, who was born in Milford, Nebraska in 1880, took a circuitous route to California in 1910. The Society regularly displays local memorabilia, including a book of Culver’s original ads dating back to 1913 and pages from the 1929 scrapbook of his active travels across the USA as president of the National Real Estate Association. These are amazing glimpses back into time!
Culver’s study of the land pointed to the advantages of this chosen location, destined to become Culver City. He referred to it as “The Home City.” The early “Culverites” had housing choices, with work opportunities –an early Culver “economic development” tool. In the ad pictured, the home was actually a sketch of Culver’s first house for his little family- he and his wife, Lillian, and their daughter, Patricia. The house was originally built on Delmas Terrace, a street in Culver City’s downtown area, named for Delphin Delmas, one of Culver’s business associates.
A young architect, Wallace Neff, was Culver’s choice to design his Cheviot Hills mansion. Harry Culver had their Delmas Terrace home moved to the new location, to oversee the construction of their new 1928 residence. Neff convinced Culver to build a Spanish style home, which is featured in books on Neff. The young Neff, destined to become a famous architect, went on to design for many familiar names, like Darryl Zanuck, Harpo Marx, King Vidor, Groucho Marx……
Our historical society has amassed a wealth of Culver information from many sources, starting with Pat Culver Battle, the Culvers’ only child, through her two sons, John and Chris and grandson, Robert, who has become the family historian/genealogist. Please stop in to enjoy our remarkable collection.