CCHS Works Toward Long-term Historical Preservation

For over thirty years, the Culver City Historical Society has focused on safeguarding the unique heritage of our city through designation of specific Historic Sites as well as collecting, maintaining and displaying our wonderful trove of memorabilia and historic documents.

The Society has long been an advocate for preservation programs and measures to ensure that future generations can continue to learn about and appreciate Culver City’s special history. It now behooves us to ask, “Is Historic Preservation in Culver City on stall?”

The last discussion at the City Council, which had been put off for nearly two years, then another month, is still hanging in the balance. There seems to be concern about doing a new survey, although the Council’s direction to apply for Certified Local Government Status and enable the Mills Act Funding in 1991 has not yet been implemented.

Here is Historic Preservation in Culver City a glance:

  • 1963: Chamber Historical Committee place plaque in park.
  • 1967: MGM Colonnade marked by the Native Daughters of the Golden West.
  • 1980: Marker placed by Sons of the Desert to commemorate the site of the Hal Roach Studios
  • 1980: Culver City Historical Society incorporated; Cathy Zermeno first president.
  • 1981: CC Historical Society started marking sites (12 to date, showing detailed historic information).
  • 1986: City/CCRA commissioned Thirtieth Street Architects to do historic resources survey.
  • 1987: Historic Resources survey work completed.
  • 1989: Historic Preservation Advisory Committee (HPAC) appointed by Council (included members of the CC Historical Society).
  • 1990: Culver City’s first historic survey report completed /published.
  • 1991: Council Action on Report – established a Historic Preservation program and ordinance, promising incentives, and to apply for Certified Local Government (CLG) status; Landmark and Significant structures were to be provided with plaques by the city to mark them.
  • 1997: Planning staff wrote order for plaques; City Planner did not release it.
  • 2001: Cultural Affairs Commission established by Council (combined Art in Public Places and Historic Preservation). CAC commission held workshops to combine and rework the ordinances for Art and Historic programs.
  • 2002: First Cultural Affairs Commission Town Hall meeting – standing room only; established priorities, with museum at the top of the list.
  • 2004: Landmark Markers: first of landmark markers started going on structures at behest of commission (since 1991 approval).
  • 2009: Attempt to update historic survey – city staff advocated expenditure of $250,000 for a new resources survey and to import Huntington Park’s historic preservation ordinance in place of updating Culver City’s. No action taken- item to return to council.
  • 2010: Council item on financial incentives promised in 1991 pulled from agenda; returned on Nov. 22; no action taken.

In these difficult economic times, it seems clear that we, as a historical society, need to help our city, as volunteers– as is being done in other cities (according to the State office of Historic Preservation), to update our ordinance and survey and to find ways to help those willing to preserve our local resources. Lack of action will undoubtedly result in a tragic loss of historic resources, something that cannot be replaced!

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