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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Notes From Your City Historian: Winter 2017

Looking Back

As a new year emerges full of promise, it also sends us back in time to think about accomplishments, our city’s first hundred years, and its future. My interest in local history began with the Lugo Ranch, and was enhanced by a plea from my mother to “take your father to the new historical society.” My dad, she suggested, “would be a natural.” She was right, and it was fun!

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1981 Marking of Historic Site #1, City Hall. (L-to R) Councilmember Richard Alexander, CCHS President Catherine Zermeno, and Historic Sites Chair Charles R. Lugo.

 

The Society sparked my research on historic sites. The city had no ordinance to protect historic structures at that time, so in 1981 we were treading on uncharted waters. Politically, it was clear the city did not want to be restricted in issuing permits for structural or cosmetic changes. The bad news is that the 1928 City Hall is gone. The good news is that people can see the original plaque with names of the Board of Trustees at the time, from 1928 on the 3/4 façade entry to the current/same City Hall site, with updated information. In addition, the historic site plaque is read by many in the grassy area on the corner of Duquesne and Culver Boulevards.

Since then a Culver City Historic Preservation Advisory Committee (HPAC) was formed. Several society members served on the committee (including Judy Potik, Stephen Schwartz, Mary Ellen Fernandez, Carolyn Cole, and Jim Lamm). An Historic Preservation ordinance was passed by the City Council in 1990, and later, it was combined with Art in Public Places, codified and placed under a newly formed Cultural Affairs Commission. The results of that action can be seen on the city website and in plaques on historic structures like The Hull Building (CCHS Historic Site #2), The Citizen Building (CCHS Site #4), and many more. Artworks like the bronze lion sculpture fountain and the Culver Family in “A Moment In Time” (both of which can be found adjacent to The Culver Hotel) are examples of public art with a tie to local history.

Another benefit of local historic research is the cooperative City-Society partnership in providing tours. Our first bus tours were written for Fiesta La Ballona. The city provided the bus and driver while the Society’s contribution yielded the scripted route and trained docents. In the early days, we were often lucky to have Harry Culver’s daughter, Patricia Culver Battle, join us on board the 55-minute runs. A big challenge became return route information after Washington Boulevard. Sites seemed sparse after we turned onto La Cienega Boulevard. My father, with a little gleam in his eye, suggested I translate the word “La Cienega” for the answer. Somehow my high school Spanish classes did not talk much about “swamps,” but that became another bit of information to share!

As always, I encourage you to enjoy the benefits of our Culver City Historical Society. Visit the CCHS Archives, website, look for historic sites, the new bus wraps with historic photos, be active and share your insights into local history!

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