A Very Generous Gift

While we “suffered” through a cold winter, I received a most interesting email (which, after the holidays, was usually a 50% off code from the Gap). Former mayor Paul Jacobs recently met someone whom he wanted us to meet, a collector of letters. This gentleman had a letter that he thought would be of interest to us. Intrigued, Vice President of the ARC/Museum, Art Litman, and Historic Sites chair, Julie Lugo Cerra, and I agreed to meet them both at the ARC on a Sunday afternoon.

Society President Michelle Bernardin receives Harry Culver’s letter from Dennis Shapiro. Also pictured are Susan Shapiro and Rabbi Zachary Shapiro of Temple Akiba. (George Bernardin)

 

Once we were all seated around our worktable, Art set the video on his phone to record and we were off, asking a myriad of questions – from his collecting practices to how he is connected to Culver City. Among the themes in his collection  Dennis Shapiro has amassed letters from all the U.S. Presidents, #1 through #44. An interesting comment on collecting, he stated that he evaluates a letter for content, not solely on signature quality, as one might expect. He spoke very passionately about his 30-year hobby, but we know it’s much more than just an interest. It never is. A very special man, indeed.

At the very end of the conversation, we thanked him for coming in to show us this remarkable letter. He then very proudly said that on behalf of his family, he would like to give the letter to the Historical Society. (I think I might have hugged him a little too hard.) For those of you keeping track, this is the first letter signed by Harry Culver to enter into the Society’s collection. A very special letter, indeed.

Dennis Shapiro generously gifted the letter to the Society in the name of his son, Rabbi Zachary Shapiro, his wife, Susan, and himself. All three were our guests at the April 19 General Meeting and Program, where they officially presented their gift to the membership and could be publically thanked. I was able to cajole Rabbi Shapiro into reading a couple of amusing passages out loud, as a one Mr. Culver encouraged Mr. Warren Doane from the Hal Roach Studio to forward a petition for better mail delivery. History does repeat itself. A very special evening, indeed.

We are very lucky to have a member of the Shapiro family in Culver City on a permanent basis, as Zach is the rabbi at Temple Akiba. His parents seasonally spend time on this coast. We encourage you to come into the Archives to see this amazing letter in person. An excerpt is shown here only to whet your appetite to visit and take in the wit of Mr. Culver.

Summer 2017 Message

Dear Members and Friends,Michelle Bernardin, President

Happy Summer!

I haven’t shared many personal moments through this public letter, but since our last newsletter was published, I became a homeowner. This does not amount to much for the purposes of typical President Messages, other than the pathways of homeownership and historic preservation intersected with this purchase and it was an interesting test of my beliefs. The irony does not go unnoticed that May was national Historic Preservation Month. If you are interested in hearing more of my tale, come sit by me, and I’ll have a story to share.

We hope you enjoy this expanded newsletter issue, celebrating our Centennial. Please enjoy the photos, and additional articles. (Extra points will be given if you notice the new subtle changes to our newsletter design.)

As we celebrate the 100th birthday of our city’s incorporation, please calendar Saturday afternoon, September 16. We will bring back the Society’s historic bus tours that used to happen during Fiesta La Ballona. While the Culver City Centennial Committee’s 100th Birthday Party in Vets Park will be going on from 11am to 3pm, we will have our tours at designated times. Tickets will be free, and there might be surprise guests! Check back on our website for ticket information and reservations. We are grateful to partner with the city’s Transportation Department to bring this tour back for the birthday party.

Visit our website and like or follow us on the social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) to stay connected with us!

As always, thank you for supporting your Historical Society! We cannot do this without you.

#ThisPlaceMatters

In early May, the Society accepted a proclamation from the Culver City Council in recognition of Historic Preservation Month. The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s theme this year is “This Place Matters,” which perfectly describes our feelings about “The Heart of Screenland” as we celebrate our Centennial year. (Jeremy Green)

April 19 General Meeting and Program

Stu Freeman

This month our program takes us on a trip from Latvia to Culver City where Stu Freeman, a local businessman and past president of the Culver City Historical Society, pays tribute to his grandparents and family. Molly and Louis Freeman opened Freeman’s Market in downtown Culver City in the 1920s. They serviced many country clubs, restaurants, the MGM Studios, and even Leo the Lion ate their products! Later, they opened Freeman’s Furniture in the Hull Building, still owned by the family and now hosting the Akasha Restaurant.

Hull Building

The Freeman family has been an integral part of Culver City. Their history will be presented through a PowerPoint presentation that also will also describe the many uses of the historic Hull Building over the years.

“While celebrating our Centennial, I congratulate the city that my family has been a part of for 90 of its 100 years,” Stu says.

Prior to the program, we will have a very special presentation, as Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Shapiro and Rabbi Zachary Shapiro of Temple Akiba will officially gift the Historical Society an original letter by Harry Culver to the Hal Roach Studio about (what else?) the mail delivery.

All are welcome to enjoy this free program. Entry is through Archives and Resource center from the parking area in the back of the building.

Spring 2017 Message

Dear Members and Friends,

Happy Spring! In an effort last spring to promote our historic photos umbrella, I Michelle Bernardin, Presidenttempted fate by scoffing at the El Niño that never materialized… Who’s laughing now? (But our umbrella is still the best and available at 25% off for these rains that will not end!)

One of our great pleasures in celebrating the Centennial has been to bring you programs that highlight several longtime families and their local businesses. As we saw with the Veras and the Eskridges, these are families who are indelibly quilted into our city’s fabric and history. Our April 19 General Meeting and Program will highlight another Culver City family and their businesses – that of Historical Society past president, Stu Freeman. If you have walked into Akasha, Goda Yoga, or Alandale’s, then look to property owner Stu… but you will learn so much more.

As I continue sharing more of our plans to celebrate our city’s Centennial, please visit our website and like or follow us on the social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) to keep connected with us!

As always, thank you for supporting your Historical Society! We cannot do this without you.

January 18 General Meeting and Program

Our City Founder, Harry H. Culver

Multipurpose Room, Veterans Memorial Building, 7PM

 

In celebration of our city founder, Harry H. Culver’s January 22, 1880, birthday, City Historian Julie Lugo Cerra will offer a look back into Culver’s dream city. Many of us remember the Culvers’ only child, Patricia, helping out at the annual fiestas, and even taking our bus tours as a special guest! We enjoy a wonderful tie to our founding family, which continues with Pat Culver Battle’s tradition of being a ready resource for photos and records of Harry Culver’s life and plans. Cerra will give a visual presentation and discussion using many of these materials.

p-1-harry-h-culver-1913

Harry H. Culver (1913)

Take time to visit our Archives and Resource Center that evening as well, to view special Culver-related items, like the original ads that Mr. Culver designed to draw residents and businesses to Culver City.

 

Members and the public are invited to enjoy this free program. Entry is through the ARC from the back parking lot.