October 18 General Meeting and Program

In Search of Family History with Steven Rose

Multipurpose Room, Veterans Memorial Building, 7PM

Steven Rose (Culver City Chamber of Commerce)

 

If you have not already heard, Steven Rose is retiring as President/CEO of the Culver City Chamber of Commerce. What will he do with his free time?

At our next general meeting, Steve will explain his plans to dive deep into his family history, which is splintered among many generations and family trees and branches.  All four lines of his family are believed to have roots in Germany, where family records have been kept for centuries.  Steve will outline his plans for tracing his genealogy, how and what he has gathered so far, and share poignant anecdotes of his family’s journey over the last three centuries.

Many branches of his family immigrated to America in the 19th century, settling in northern or southern California as well on the east coast. They were involved in many aspects of the development of early California. Along the way, Steve has acquired many stories, fact and fiction, both here and in Germany, and looks forward to discovering more.

The public is invited to this free program. The entrance to the ARC is from the back parking lot.

The Archives will be open that evening for you to come and see the latest exhibits.

The branch of Steve’s maternal grandmother’s side of the family.

Fall 2017 Message

Dear Members and Friends,Michelle Bernardin, President

Happy Autumn!

I have thoroughly delighted in the programs that we brought to you during the course of the city’s celebration of our Centennial. From highlighting Culver City families, their businesses, and history, to exploring our city’s history by bringing back our Historical Bus Tours, we hope you have equally enjoyed them. We might still have a few Centennial celebratory moments left in us as we close out 2017 and ring in a New Year, so don’t put your streamers away just yet.

This is my final newsletter message as the Historical Society’s president. It has been my honor and privilege to represent this mighty organization during such a notable time in our city’s evolution. As we stand on the edge of our city’s next 100 years, I can only imagine the legacy we will leave to our young “Culverites.” History has and will continue to play a vital role in our city’s shape. Your Culver City Historical Society pledges to be advocates of this mantra for as long as we are part of this community.

Continue visiting 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

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.