Fall 2019 Message

Dear Members and Friends:

Hope ParrishMy very best wishes to all of you as we approach fall and 2020!  We have had a great year! 

As the Society continues to grow, we are involved with local and citywide events, requiring volunteers. Life is busy, and I know this firsthand. But for the Society to continue to be viable, we need you! I know many of you would consider this opportunity but think, “I don’t know our city’s history. How can I be of any help?” Well, it’s simple – you start by showing up, and we promise to share our knowledge about our city so you can pass it on to others. If you love Culver City as much as we do, I encourage you to join us.

This is also election time for our 2020-2022 Board.  We have a few openings that are vital to our Society:

  • VP, Development: This position manages merchandise sold online and in our Archives store, and develops ideas for events and fundraising, including the Founder’s Day Picnic. This is a voting position. 
  • VP, Museum and Archives: This position works with the collection and displays in the museum and manages the open hours each month. This is a voting position.
  • VP, Programs: This position selects program topics that are presented at the quarterly General Meetings. This is a voting position.
  • Communications Chair: This position keeps the Historical Society’s good name out in the press through releases and our quarterly print newsletter. (Social media and InDesign knowledge are NOT a requirement.) Non-voting position.
  • Volunteering: Choose your own adventure! We participate in about six events each year that require a friendly face handing out swag. 

These positions are exciting and can be shaped by you. I have personally found my time volunteering to be rewarding, as have our current and previous board members. As the Society’s president, I am asking you to consider these positions. If the Historical Society is to continue to grow and operate in the years to come, we need you!

Please feel free to call me if you would like to know more.  

Thank you!

Hope
Cell: (310) 880-6335

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Getting Ready to Mark History!

I admit I am feeling a little nostalgic! I remember a call from my mom, shortly after my dad,

City Hall, Pictured in the 1950s. (Historic Site No.1)

Captain Charles Reyes Lugo, retired from CCPD in 1979. After reading about the formation of a Culver City Historical Society, she realized that his Lugo family history could be a benefit to keeping him active with community service. I promised to take him to the first meeting of our Historical Society at the home of Fire Chief John Kearney and his wife Mildred.

Soon after that first meeting, Dad became our first Historic Sites Chair and the Society began a program of marking historic sites at least 50 years old. We celebrated marking our first site in 1981, the 1928 City Hall (where City Hall stands today), ten years prior to the adoption of our city’s Historic Preservation Ordinance. In the 1980s, the City of Culver City acted to fund a survey of historic structures. A Historic Preservation Advisory Committee formed and the final document, completed by 30th Street Architects, was adopted by our City Council in 1991. A Cultural Affairs Commission was appointed by the council in 2000, which folded Historic Preservation and Art in Public Places together. In 2004, oval city plaques were ordered and installed on historic structures designated by the city as “Landmark” or “Significant.” The National Register has also recognized structures in our city.

City Hall with Street Sweepers (Julie Lugo Cerra)

Our historic plaques are traditionally bronze, mounted in concrete or affixed to the structure. The Society fundraising pays for these narrative markers. I encourage you to visit our website — culvercityhistoricalsociety.org/historic-sites — then go outside and explore the 13 sites we have marked. We are thrilled to mark our 14th site later this year, The Rollerdrome. We will also be mounting an exhibit in the Culver City Historical Society Archives to celebrate and share items, such as an original pair of roller skates. Announcements will go out soon! Join the fun!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

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

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Our Newspaper Treasures

Culver City’s history always amazes me! From early times when our Native Americans traversed this area, using natural resources wisely, to our Spanish ancestors who shared their customs, to the continuing influx of amazing immigrants who expand our cultural wealth every day.

First Society historic site marking at City Hall in 1981. Left to right, from back: Councilmembers Richard Alexander, Paul Netzel, and Richard Brundo; Catherine Zermeno, Society president; Councilmember Paul Jacobs; and Charles Lugo, Historic Sites chair. H. Dale Jones, CAO of Culver City, is kneeling on the left. (Julie Lugo Cerra)

Newspapers serve as incredible sources of information from early times on a daily basis! Our Culver City Historical Society has been lucky to receive, save, and protect early newspapers like The Culver City Star, Evening Star News and The Citizen. The front page pictured is dated September 22, 1927 and notes that it is “Published Daily Except Sunday.” It clearly validates our information that Col. Charles A. Lindbergh, who is posed next to movie actress Marion Davies, visited the M-G-M movie lot, and met Louis B. Mayer, who was “manager of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio.” Culver City’s mayor, Reve Houck, is pictured on the far right. Note the studio is illustrated above, with the Washington Boulevard frontage. Palms is recognized to the north, also on the right.

Many of you are aware that we had a “Culver City Airport” which was in the area of Jefferson and Sepulveda Boulevards. City founder Harry Culver kept his plane there, and it was from that airport that Culver flew across the country with his wife Lillian and daughter Patricia, during his tenure as president of the National Real Estate Association. Our collection includes a book of letters, clippings, and photos documenting that trip. Many years ago, I received a call from a church in the Inland Empire asking if we would like a book of Culver photos. After rescuing the amazing treasure, the Society surprised the Culvers’ daughter, Patricia Culver Battle, by returning it to her at one of our meetings. A delighted Patricia graciously turned the table on us and left it in our care. We are grateful that Patricia’s descendants, who now live out of state, continue to support our society with photos and details of Culver history!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Revisiting “Dream Street”

It was my great pleasure to meet the legendary director George Sidney just before the turn of the millennium, while I was program director for the American Cinematheque. I was concurrently the newsletter editor of our Society newsletter, Culver Historical Highlights. George was kind enough to write a piece for the Winter 2000 newsletter, entitled “Dream Street,” his homage to Washington Boulevard. In my view, this was his love letter to the film history of Culver City. Enjoy these excerpts and visit our website for his entire article.

George Sidney’s cover letter, submitting his “Dream Street” article for Winter 2000 Society newsletter. (Judy Stangler)

Everyone has a favorite street—Broadway, Bond Street, Canal Street, Rue de la Paix, State Street, Via Veneto, even the Yellow Brick Road. I first saw mine and walked on my “dream street” in 1930: Washington Boulevard in Culver City.

My footprints shared the path with the entertainment greats—factual, historical and fictional who worked at the studios of the reel cinema world which were created and built along its curbs, such as Triangle, MGM, RKO, Pathé, and Desilu.

From Ince, DeMille, Mayer, Roach, and Selznick came forth a mecca of creativity which encouraged the talents of Thalberg, Freed, Stromberg, Welles, Ford, Stevens, Capra, and Flemming, as well as Minnelli, Lubitsch, Wilder, Leonard, Frankenheimer, and Spielberg, among so many others.

My footsteps echoed alongside those of the Munchkins, Garbo and Lassie, Trader Horne and Lena Horne, Clark Gable and Captains Courageous, Lawrence Tibbet and Elvis (along with Frank and Bing), Astaire and Kelly, and the Nicholas Brothers.

I watched Mickey and Judy grow up; Our Gang remaining kids forever; Tom and Jerry wreaking havoc. I experienced the burning of Atlanta and Gone with the Wind, the San Francisco earthquake, locusts and The Good Earth, and Singin’ in the Rain.

I strutted along with all of these stars and celluloid giants who paved the way for those who will continue to matriculate on this street for the entertainment of 2000 and beyond. It all happens on my “dream street” in Culver City.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email