Summer 2019 Message

Hope ParrishSummer Greetings to our newest members and to our loyal lifetime and annual members who support us each year! We had a busy Spring!

In April, the Historical Society began work on a new collaboration with Culver City High School. We joined the Wende Museum and other local business at the Student Career Day. Our plan is to begin a volunteer internship program with our local students who have a desire to learn about Culver City history and preservation. We have lots of interest, which is exciting!

I hope everyone enjoyed the April General Meeting and Program, “From Barney Fife to Beats: Culver City’s 40 Acres Backlot.” Standing room only, we were taken back in time with Steve Bingen and Mark Wanamaker.

Steve Newton has our thanks for the time and care he put into a wonderful display of Culver City Car Club memorabilia at the ARC. Our visitors enjoyed it while we opened during the Exchange Club Car Show.

Special thanks to the Culver City Council for recognizing our work during May’s Historic Preservation month. We had a great show of support from our members and volunteers to accept a City proclamation.

Did you “Spring clean?” Cleaned out a closet, garage, or attic? Came across something related to Culver City’s historic past? A photo, business card, menu, or matchbook from a business that is no longer here? Let’s see what you got! Your Historical Society can be the new home of your Culver City treasures, preserving and displaying them for future guests to view. Send a photo and brief description of your treasures to info@culvercityhistoricalsociety.org. We want to continue our growth and be a rich source of research for our community.

I look forward to seeing you!
Hope

Spring 2019 Message

Hope ParrishWith so much rain, we are guaranteed a beautiful Spring!

When I joined the Culver City Historical Society in 2008, I had no idea that I would be as involved as I have become. I needed a little something to do while I was recovering from back surgery. I was given some fun tasks to research, which started my curiosity about our town. Hours were spent in our volumes of printed newspapers, dating from 1920-mid 1930’s, reading about the stars, the studio executives – not just MGM, but all the studios in Culver City – even scandals of the day! As a person who loves history, especially ours, it was very exciting for me to read and absorb what Harry Culver and our forefathers did to bring us homes, schools, jobs, and community services.

In the Archives, we also have volumes of newspapers on microfilm, which until now could not be accessed without the proper equipment. With a very generous donation from Society members and current Vice-Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells and Karim Sahli, we now have a state-of-the-art microfilm machine (see photo below). Our microfilm rolls start in the 1940’s and continue to the 1980’s. I can’t wait to discover the history in them!

As Culver City continues its growth, I am also thrilled with the many opportunities to meet and help our local neighbors and students on our open Sundays. They come to the ARC looking for information for their various projects. We will now be able to help access more information, so this is exciting!

Our docents are in the process of digitizing these rolls. If you would like to get in on the fun and get involved with this and other projects at your Culver City Historical Society, please contact us at info@culvercityhistoricalsociety.org.

We can’t do this without you!

Hope

An Unexpected Culver History Lesson, Part 3

I could write thousands of words of what I learned about Harry Culver and his family on my two recent trips to Nebraska over the last eight months.

Harry Culver home in Omaha, NE. (Hope Parrish)

It all came into focus when I learned that Harry moved to Omaha in 1908. He became the manager for real estate developer George P. Bemis. Harry purchased a home in the Bemis development at 3401 Hawthorne adjacent to the Bemis Park. I drove through that neighborhood and found his home beautifully located up on a hill just north of downtown (see photo).

The following year, Harry decided he should go into business for himself and opened his own brokerage office in Omaha’s National Bank Building. He sold large parcels of farm land, offering exchanges of property with merit. “We make a specialty of exchanging Property.”

When Harry arrived in California, as many know, he worked with Isaac Newton Van Nuys, developing the valley. In my opinion, what he learned from Van Nuys, Bemis, his father, and others provided him the tools that he needed to take on this task of developing his own city.

Not stopping there, he became president of the National Association of Realtors, flying around the country, giving hundreds of speeches each year. When I was in Nebraska, I felt a familiar sense of home. One telling sign, it occurred to me that no matter the size of the town I visited, there was a park in each neighborhood. I have read that one of the requirements Harry Culver instilled in his developers was that they should have a park in their neighborhood plan. Coincidence? Culver City has ten parks and five elementary schools that give our children and families a place to gather, learn, and enjoy.

Is this why our town is so unique? Could it be why many say Culver City is a “model city”? Harry H. Culver gave to my family and many others a beautiful city with jobs, homes, and community. Thank you, Harry Culver, for your vision, passion, and service to the world.

Winter 2019 Message

Hope ParrishHappy New Year, Members and Friends!

As we welcome in 2019, I would like to say that it has been my pleasure to be the Society’s President. My first year was busy and exciting. We discovered some wonderful items in the ARC, and some incredible items were donated to us this year. We closed the ARC in June, which allowed us time and space to change up the displays and present you with something new. In October, we brought back our Sunday Conversations with a guest speaker, archaeologist Robyn Turner. Her conversations about local archaeological digs are always interesting!

Ryan did a great job with the programs this year—they were fun, interesting, and loaded with Culver City history. I cannot wait to see what is in store for us in the coming year!

A special highlight from this fall was collaborating with the Mayme A. Clayton Library & Museum and the Wende Museum to present us all as the Culver City Cultural Corridor. This was our first time opening all three spaces for a crossover event. Our hope is to hold more events on the weekends, to include more of the public.

I have said before that it takes a village, which grows each day due to the generosity of our members, our donors, and the creative ideas and dedication of our volunteers including Jeanne, Tami, Judy, Michelle, Fred, Ryan, Tito, Denice, Sharon, Denise, Art, Ellen, Julie, Dennis, Margie, Michael, Annie, Nick, Stephen, and Julio.

We can’t do this without you!

An Unexpected Culver History Lesson, Part 2

Last spring during my visit to Milford, NE, the birthplace of Harry Culver, I was drawn to a brick and stone building that used to be a hospital. Upon further investigation, I learned it was part of a larger campus of buildings that housed and supported unwed mothers at the latter part of the 19th century, and lo! Harry’s father, Jacob Culver, was the home’s early proponent!

In 1884, a philanthropist from Omaha named Mrs. Francis Clark began crusading to change the age of consent for girls from the age of 12 to 18. She petitioned the Nebraska legislature to establish an “Industrial Home” for unwed mothers. As legislatures do, they compromised, and set the age of consent to 15. The term “industrial” as it related to industrial schools, enabled “needy children to learn a trade, and home industries are taught.”

The unwed mothers’ housing proposal gained momentum when Jacob Culver, Adjutant General of the Nebraska National Guard, entered the conversation and convinced the city of Milford to donate 40 acres of land a mile east of the city, just south of the railroad.

In 1887, $15,000.00 was approved by the State Legislature to establish an institution for 50 “penitent girls who have no specific disease… who have met with misfortune… and thus prevent crime.” Two three-story, 25-room dormitories were built to house the mothers, and included steam baths and a library, along with a powerhouse, cattle barn, and laundry. Doors opened May 1, 1889. Newspapers noted that it was “the only state-supported maternity home in the nation.

”The Industrial Home lasted a little over 50 years when, in 1943, Governor Dwight P. Griswold suggested that the Industrial Home be abolished, and services transferred to the University Hospital in Omaha, leaving the buildings and land for public use.

Stayed tuned to the finale in our winter newsletter!