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!

Fall 2018 Message

Dear Members and Friends,

Hope ParrishHere comes fall, and I am glad it is finally cooling off! We spent June cleaning up around the ARC–(re)organizing storage sections of the collection, recording objects into the database, and installing new exhibits for you to enjoy. Check out some of the photos!

You, our Historical Society members, know that our museum is a special place. What you may not know is there are two other museums that are just as special in walking distance from the ARC. Thanks to help from the Culver City Cultural Affairs Foundation, the Mayme A. Clayton Library & Museum, the Wende Museum and the Culver City Historical Society Archives & Resource Center (ARC) will form the first ever Culver City Cultural Corridor! On Friday, November 9, all three museums will be open to the public for an exciting day. See the enclosed flyer for more information, and join us as we walk the Cultural Corridor together for the first time.

We have a new addition to our volunteers: David Voncannon is our new video editor! With his help and keen skills, we are quickly adding more videos of our recent programs to our YouTube channel.

There are also ways for YOU to get involved! We are looking for a new Government Affairs Liaison, Vice President of the Museum and Archives, and Communications Chair. Every week we receive questions about Culver City history, which are always fun to research and answer. We need more researchers to help answer the influx. We need docents and volunteers for our open hours and tours that come through the Archives. We will train you! These are enriching opportunities to work with your Society and help us continue to grow. I am happy to talk to you about any of these positions. Please email me at hope@culvercityhistoricalsociety.org.

Lastly, if you buy from Amazon or Ralph’s, visit the front page of our website and we explain how to link a percentage of your total purchases to support the Society. At no additional cost to you, these are easy ways that go to support our work.

We can’t do this without you!

Summer 2018 Message

Happy Summer, everyone!

Hope ParrishI would like to begin this letter by applauding our Programs VP, Ryan Vincent, for inviting LA84’s Wayne Wilson to present a wonderful program about our city’s involvement with the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games. If you missed it, you will be able to view it on our website soon, under “View Our Videos on YouTube.”

Since the Installation of Officers, we have received some very generous items into the Society’s collection. Many of you remember the large city photos on the walls in Roll n’ Rye. We now have three of them. If you were a student at Culver High from 1962-1982, you may remember our drama teacher,Sandford Bodger. His collection of photos, programs, and posters from the Fall productions and Spring musicals are now part of our collection. How many of you remember hearing about the Egyptian House? To date, there has only been one photo that I have ever seen. That all changed when longtime resident Steve Peden left instructions to his family to donate his entire Egyptian House collection to the Society. We now have many photos, newspaper articles and, most significantly, two beautiful wood columns that once adorned the walls inside the house. May was National Historic Preservation month. With all our newly acquired gifts, we are doing our part in preserving our history.

Our Museum and Costumes committees have been doing lots of Spring cleaning! Art and Ellen Litman’s Museum Committee is doing such a great job getting our collection files organized! Denice Renteria and I are looking forward to the new shelving that will support our costume collection.

None of this would be possible without all of you. I look forward to seeing you soon at our July 18 General Meeting and Program!

Until then, remember: history is fun!

Hope