Marking the Rollerdrome Site

Newly built Culver City Rollerdrome

Newly built Culver City Rollerdrome

Located on a portion of Rancho La Ballona, the Rollerdrome was the earliest significant structure on that site. That area had been a part of Culver City’s Annexation #4, known as the 1924 “Bohemia Annexation.” The Rollerdrome, a very popular roller-skating rink, was dedicated in the late 1920s by Mayor Reve Houck. It was a wooden skating rink, equipped with an organ. The space was also used for competitive skating events.

Culver City Rollerdrome patch used on skate case. (CCHS Collection)

Culver City Rollerdrome patch used on skate case. (CCHS Collection)

The Rollerdrome became a well-known recreational facility that appealed to skaters of all ages. Many people, like our own Virgie Eskridge, have shared their memories of time spent at this popular roller skating rink. Virgie remembers Mr. Osterloh, who served as the early organist. Another Society Founder, Ethel Ashby, often spoke of this historic site and its social significance to our community. She liked to point out the “strict dress code” precluded anyone from wearing “blue jeans!” It was a favored place to meet family and friends, celebrate birthdays, or enjoy a date. Skating options like “Regular Skate,” “All Women,” “Couples,” “Solitary” (interpreted as “solo time to show off”), were announced, along with the “All Men” call, which Ethel pointed out “made all men race like a bunch of whippets.

Early map of the area with several important recognizable local sites: Rollerdrome (centered), Kennel  Club, Stern’s Barbecue, Fox Hills Country Club, Loyola University, Sebastian’s Cotton Club, etc.

Early map of the area with several important recognizable local sites: Rollerdrome (centered), Kennel Club, Stern’s Barbecue, Fox Hills Country Club, Loyola University, Sebastian’s Cotton Club, etc.

”When the Rollerdrome was no longer viable as a skating rink, it was razed to make way for another recreational venue, a city park. It was named for Michael Tellefson, who served as a city employee, (Chief Administrative Officer and City Attorney), and as an elected Councilmember and Mayor (1930-34). Many remember Tellefson Park became an official 1976 U.S. Bicentennial dedication. Mike Tellefson advocated for other city-owned facilities, like the Veterans Memorial Building (1950), and he negotiated important contracts, like our sewer contract with Hyperion in 1951. His portrait hangs in the Mike Balkman Council Chambers at City Hall, and a Culver City street is named Tellefson. Mr. Tellefson and his wife lived on Irving Place.

Culver City Mayor Reve Houck, is pictured seated in the light suit during the ceremony to celebrate construction of our historic Rollerdrome in the late 1920s. Houck was also an advocate for Victory Park, Culver City’s first park, and the financing of the first city bus, which led the way to establish Culver City’s bus system, the second oldest in the state.

Culver City Mayor Reve Houck, is pictured seated in the light suit during the ceremony to celebrate construction of our historic Rollerdrome in the late 1920s. Houck was also an advocate for Victory Park, Culver City’s first park, and the financing of the first city bus, which led the way to establish Culver City’s bus system, the second oldest in the state.

We look forward to marking the Rollerdrome site as the Society’s Historic Site #14. Watch for an announcement of the marking date soon!

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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

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3 Reasons Why Culver City Should Be Your Home

One of the great joys of being your city historian is the ability to share items like this vintage pamphlet. Many gifts to the Society bring our history into focus with pictures, which is “painless education” at its best! These scans from an early Culver City Chamber of Commerce brochure offer a look back to the 1928 City Hall, first Fire Station in Downtown Culver City, Culver CityBus, other transportation, Main Street, and a “group of new homes.” It also illustrates the point that our entry to the current City Hall honors the facade of its 1928 predecessor on the same site. We see our Culver City Police Department interacting with children, and we are reminded of the Helms Bakeries history, which included supplying bread to the nearby 1932 Olympic Village. Picnics in Victory Park, now Dr. Paul Carlson Park, are a long-standing tradition. If you can identify the street where the “group of new homes” are show below, please email the Society, to my attention!

Photo credit: Courtesy of Robert Battle, great-grandson of Harry Culver, from the Culver-Battle Collection. (Thank you, as always!)

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Please Pardon Our Dust!

Please, pardon our dust! We will use the month of June to do some organizational work in our permanent collection storage area, and we need a little wiggle room to do this, so we’ll be spreading out into our museum space.

Because of all this, we will unfortunately NOT open the ARC during our June public open hours — this coming Sunday, June 3 and Sunday, June 17 (and happy early Father’s Day to all the dads!).

We wish we could install an observation area for our visitors!

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Spring 2018 Message

Hope ParrishDear Members and Friends,

This is my first newsletter message as president of the Historical Society. I thank everyone who joined us at the installation in January—what a fun party Michelle threw! I am humbled and overwhelmed by the support and well wishes. Since 1980, there is a small group of people who have been in this position of president and committed their time to build this Society into what it is today. I would like to thank Cathy Zermeno, Julie Lugo Cerra, Lupe Smith, Marti Diviak, Sam Cerra, Linda Brody, Bonnie Walsh, Hal Horne, Lu Herrera, Don Rogers, Steve Rose, Stu Freeman, Louise Coffey-Webb, and Michelle Bernardin. I also thank all the volunteers, past and present, for their dedication. To the current board officers, committee chairs, and friends who are volunteering in various positions, I say, “We have a winning team!”

Installation of the 2018-20 Historical Society Board on January 17, 2018 at the Culver Hotel, with installing officer Mayor Jeff Cooper and master of ceremonies Rafia Cooper. (Kevin Lachoff)

Recently, I met two of our museum volunteers, Annie Castaneda and Stephen Connell. They work every Wednesday in the ARC under the direction of Ellen and Art Litman, our ARC/Museum co-VPs. Over many years, we have received items that need to be documented and categorized. Art’s team works hard to catalogue each item with a specific location where it can be found in our collection and can be cross-referenced in the database. We want to locate items and information quicker to provide better service to the community for the many inquiries we receive.

I encourage you to attend the April 18 General Meeting for VP of Programs Ryan Vincent’s presentation on Culver City and the Olympics. We also look forward to new fundraising and merchandise ideas that Development VP Laura Stuart has in store.

Thank you for your support of the Historical Society. I look forward to a great 2018 with you.

Hope

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