Marking Our Diverse History

Charles Reyes Lugo, my father, was the youngest of eight children born to Mercurial and Rita Reyes Lugo on the local Lugo Ranch. My little brother and I could count on visits annually to the LA County Museum to visit the early Californio exhibits that included a portrait of ancestors like Don Antonio Maria Lugo, […]

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That’s Entertainment

It was 1974 and I was 14 years old. I was visiting a security guard named Ken Hollywood, at MGM’s East Gate. He handed me a pencil and paper, saying “Two fellas will be coming out soon that you will want to meet!” And that was it. Growing up in Culver City, I spent almost […]

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Spring 2020 President’s Message

Dear Members and Friends: Spring is on its way! I want to introduce to you our 2020-2022 Board. If you missed the installation, the food was delicious and the evening was outstanding. I can’t thank Vice Mayor Göran Eriksson enough for his wonderful words that he spoke while installing us all. Yes, I am here […]

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The April 15, 2020 General Meeting and Program Has Been Cancelled

As we continue to monitor and adjust to the changing environment in our city and broader world, we are erring on the side of caution and minding the current city-wide recommendations for large gatherings. Unfortunately, we are cancelling our next General Meeting and Program on Wednesday, April 15. We are working on a program of […]

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Capturing the History of Our City’s Leadership in Images

There is always a story in history! I would like to share one with you and then ask for your help. Many years ago, two city employees rescued some of Culver City’s historic assets. Both men worked on the second floor of the previous city hall, which is still remembered by many who walk through […]

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The Rollerdrome Was My Neighbor

The Rollerdrome was my love. I lived only four houses from it on Bentley Avenue. I spent many, many hours meeting people and learning to skate. I took lessons every Saturday morning and had races with fellow skaters. My Friday nights were spent at the Rollerdrome with friends, going out afterward for a “Piece O’ […]

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Winter 2020 Message

Dear Members and Friends: As we close 2019, reflecting on the honor it is to volunteer for this society, I want to recognize the many individuals dedicating time to this museum. I need to thank all of you. This society’s growth is dependent on its memberships, longtime to our most recent. Dedicated volunteers, from our […]

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January 15 Installation of Officers

January 15, 2020 Annual Meeting and Installation of Officers The Historical Society’s Winter General Membership Meeting will be an Installation of Officers for 2020-2022, including dinner catered by Holy Cow, on Wednesday, January 15, 2020, from 7:00 to 8:30pm in the Rotunda Room of Veterans Memorial Building at 4117 Overland Avenue, Culver City. This will […]

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The Evolution of Girls Basketball in Culver City Through a Player’s Eyes

When I was growing up, the mandatory school dress code for girls was dresses. It was hard to play sports in a dress and patent leather shoes on the playground blacktop. But where there was a will, there was a way. My friends, Marisa and Tami, and I would spend our recess watching the boys […]

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Marking #14

As a founding member of our Culver City Historical Society, it is hard to express the depth of my great pride as we plan the marking of Historic Site #14, the Rollerdrome. The Rollerdrome opened in 1928 on land annexed to Culver City in 1924, first inhabited by Tongva Native Americans. It could accommodate more […]

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Fall 2019 Message

Dear Members and Friends: My 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 […]

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October 16 General Meeting and Program

The Animation History of MGM The MGM Cartoon Department brought the world Tom & Jerry, Droopy, Barney Bear and many more characters loved the world over. Legends of hand-drawn animation including Hanna and Barbara, Tex Avery, and Chuck Jones were responsible for hours of animated shorts, some of which were filmed in 3-strip Technicolor, some […]

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Getting Ready to Mark History!

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

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Summer 2019 Message

Summer 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 […]

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July 17 General Meeting and Program

The Art of the Hollywood Backdrop: A Presentation that Literally Goes Behind the Scenes The Art of the Hollywood Backdrop, a book by Richard M. Isackes and Karen L. Maness, is a large format book that includes sumptuous photos of movie backdrops, and the stories of the scenic artists that produced them. As revered film […]

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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. Newspapers serve as incredible sources of information from early times on a daily […]

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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 […]

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Spring 2019 Message

With so much rain, we are guaranteed a beautiful Spring! When I joined the Culver City Historical Society in 2008, I had no idea that I would be as involved as I have become. I needed a little something to do while I was recovering from back surgery. I was given some fun tasks to […]

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April 17 General Meeting and Program

From Barney Fife to Beats: Culver City’s 40 Acres Backlot From 1927-1976, the backlot known as 40 Acres played host to Tarzan, Superman, Rhett Butler, King Kong, Captain Kirk, Batman, and Gomer Pyle. It was roughly bordered by Higuera to the north, Lucerne to the west, and Ballona Creek and Jefferson to the south and […]

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An Unexpected Culver History Lesson, Part 3

I could write thousands of words of what I learned about Harry Culver and his family on my two recent trips to Nebraska over the last eight months. It all came into focus when I learned that Harry moved to Omaha in 1908. He became the manager for real estate developer George P. Bemis. Harry […]

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Winter 2019 Message

Happy New Year, Members and Friends! As we welcome in 2019, I would like to say that it has been my pleasure to be the Society’s President. My first year was busy and exciting. We discovered some wonderful items in the ARC, and some incredible items were donated to us this year. We closed the […]

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Marking and Preserving History

When our Culver City Historical Society formed, we knew we all shared an interest in local history and we learned about many options available to preserve that rich history! Charles Lugo chaired our first Historic Sites Committee, and it offered a learning experience for me to work with my dad and our Society “madrina” (godmother), […]

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January 16 Annual Business Meeting and General Membership Program

HISTORICAL ECOLOGY AND THE BALLONA WATERSHED    When you bike or walk along Ballona Creek you see a concrete-lined flood control channel. Once you go under the Marina Freeway overpass on the bike path you see fields that are called wetlands, but they don’t look very wet at all. But Ballona Creek was once a […]

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An Unexpected Culver History Lesson, Part 2

Last spring during my visit to Milford, NE, the birthplace of Harry Culver, I was drawn to a brick and stone building that used to be a hospital. Upon further investigation, I learned it was part of a larger campus of buildings that housed and supported unwed mothers at the latter part of the 19th […]

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“Living History”

Each year, Fiesta La Ballona reminds me of memories that spelled “fun.” I remember how hard our mother worked to outfit my brother, cousin, and me as “Early Settlers.” I liked the “señorita”dresses and learning about my ancestors, except one year when I had to wear a mustache (itchy!), and pull my little brother and […]

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Fall 2018 Message

Dear Members and Friends, Here comes fall, and I am glad it is finally cooling off! We spent June cleaning up around the ARC–(re)organizing storage sections of the collection, recording objects into the database, and installing new exhibits for you to enjoy. Check out some of the photos! You, our Historical Society members, know that […]

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October 17 General Meeting and Program

Early Culver City Movie Locations Then and Now From the early days of filmmaking, Culver City was at the epicenter. We can spot Culver City locations in recent movies and TV shows with ease. But it takes a lot more time and effort to identify locations from silent films and early talkies. Chris Bungo was […]

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2018 Founder’s Day Picnic

Santa Maria BBQ Lunch Music and laughs Archives open with new displays When: Sunday, September 16, 2018, 12noon-3pm Where: Veterans Memorial Park, 4117 Overland Ave. Who: YOU! And family, neighbors, friends who love Culver City as much as you… Cost: $25/person Society Members; $30/person non-members; $10/kid (4-10 y.o.); 3 y.o. and under are free. Online […]

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Marking the Rollerdrome Site

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 […]

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Summer 2018 Message

Happy Summer, everyone! I 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 […]

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July 18 General Meeting and Program

The History of Los Angeles Agriculture, Past and Present July General Meeting Features Authors of Book on Southern California Farming History In today’s concrete and asphalt-lined megalopolis, it’s sometimes hard to remember that Los Angeles was once the agricultural center of North America up until the 1950s, with Culver City having played a large part. […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Spring 2018 Message

Dear 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 […]

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April 18 General Meeting and Program

Catch the Olympic Spirit! April General Meeting to Highlight 1932, 1984, and 2028 Olympics with LA84 Foundation Culver City has played a part in the past Los Angeles Olympic Games, and we look forward to being involved in 2028 when the world’s athletes return to the region. During our Wednesday, April 18 (7 P.M.) General […]

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A Brief History of Culver City’s Major Houses of Worship

Culver City’s first house of worship, St. Augustine Church began when the Figueroa family donated land in 1883 in what was to become Culver City, when Washington Blvd. was just a dirt road. In 1887 a modest wood framed church that sat 200 was built, and in 1922 it was expanded to seat 500. On […]

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Our Centennial: A Recap

Culver City’s rich history encouraged and supported many activities in celebration of our first hundred years. Locals, under the umbrella of the Centennial Committee, planned a broad scope of events from the beginning of the year-long commemoration to the end: the kickoff at Sony Pictures; an old-fashioned community parade; a 5K Run through downtown, including […]

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Installation of Officers, January 17, 2018

You are cordially invited to attend the Culver City Historical Society’s Installation honoring the Society’s 14th president, Hope M. Parrish, and officers for 2018-2020 in the Crystal Dining Room of The Culver Hotel. The event will take place on Wednesday evening, January 17, 2018 from 7:00-8:30 pm. The 2018-2020 officers will be: Hope M. Parrish, […]

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Preserving History

The Culver City Historical Society, like most non-profits, was established for all the right reasons! The effort was led by former Fire Chief and Mrs. John Kearney, Parks and Recreation Director Syd Kronenthal, and many others like Clarita Marquez Young, (our Madrina), Frank McCann, Cathy Zermeno, (first president), Charles Lugo, Rusty Kostick, Esther Tarn, and […]

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Our Equine Past

Amidst today’s hustle, bustle, and gridlock, it is nice to think back to a time before cars, when there were clopping hooves instead of purring engines, and the only horns were for music, or a bugle’s call.   Reveille would have been the morning clarion call at Camp Latham, the Civil War encampment near Overland […]

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October 18 General Meeting and Program

In Search of Family History with Steven Rose Multipurpose Room, Veterans Memorial Building, 7PM   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 […]

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Fall 2017 Message

Dear Members and Friends, 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 […]

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Culver City Finds Itself

As we celebrate Culver City’s Centennial, it’s natural to wonder how the city came to be, and what it was like before 1917. A quick history of pre-incorporated Culver City: Home to the Gabrieliños (nee Tongva) native peoples, it was part of the ranchos that subdivided present-day Los Angeles County in the early 1800s. Barley, […]

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The Culver CityBus Will Celebrate 90 Years

Although Harry Culver’s early ads boasted “All Roads lead to Culver City,” one needed transportation around the town, after arrival.  By the late 1920s, the Evening Star News pointed out a drawback in the system as the “burdensome rates charged by the Pacific Electric.” Mayor Reve Houck, after exploring options, announced that the city, under […]

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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 […]

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July 19 General Meeting and Program

The History of the Culver City Fire Department Multipurpose Room, Veterans Memorial Building, 7 PM   Very soon after Culver City was incorporated in 1917, the Culver City Fire Department was created to protect the city’s citizens and their property. Our program will feature Culver City’s Fire Chief David L. White who will speak about […]

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Summer 2017 Message

Dear Members and Friends, 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 […]

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From Abraham to the Sepúlvedas

You can always tell who’s new to Culver City by their mispronunciations of two of our most important streets: Duquesne (Doo-KEZ-nee, instead of Doo-cane, which is the proper French pronunciation) and Sepulveda (Sep-pull-VEE-duh, instead of Seh-PUL-vih-duh, which is the proper Spanish pronunciation). Duquesne Avenue runs through the heart of Downtown Culver City, and Sepulveda Boulevard […]

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Notes From Your City Historian: Spring 2017

Looking Back Culver City’s Centennial year presents a wonderful opportunity for nostalgic looks back into our rich history. The last big celebration was the 75th Anniversary. Coordinated by the office of Syd Kronenthal, director of Parks and Recreation, the city formed a steering committee. It included Paul Jacobs, chair, Charles McCain, vice-chair, Susan Berg, secretary, […]

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April 19 General Meeting and Program

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, […]

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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 tempted 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 […]

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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, […]

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Culver City Centennial video

Featuring Julie Lugo Cerra, city historian and Society Historic Sites chair, filmed in the Society Archives and Resource Center, and produced by the Culver City Centennial Celebration Committee. Enjoy!

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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 […]

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A View From the Top

In June 1960, when Rich Langsford was 12 years old, he got to do what many Culver City residents only dream of doing — go up in the tower of the Veterans Memorial Building. Fortunately for us, he brought a movie camera. In town for his Culver City High School 50th class reunion in September, […]

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Winter 2017 Message

Dear Members and Friends, This is the time of year when we remind you, our members, to renew your membership with the Society. As you may know, the Society Board is comprised only of volunteers, so there are no staff salaries to pay. At our January 18 General Meeting and Program, the membership will be […]

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Shop Our New Products!

We have produced two LIMITED EDITION products celebrating the centennial – our historic sites throw has been redesigned to highlight 100 years and is available in the three blanket colors of yesteryear – cranberry, forest green and navy ($50). AND we have a new centennial coffee mug ($15) to keep your beverage of choice warm. […]

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October 19 General Meeting and Program

Costumes Galore…MGM and More Multipurpose Room, Veterans Memorial Building, 7PM   The Culver City Historical Society will present a special multi-faceted program featuring the care and display of Culver City’s MGM costume collection by Denice Renteria, Costume Chair, and Sharon Shore, past Costume Chair, plus a presentation by Louise Coffey-Webb, former Society President. Renteria, a […]

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Notes From Your City Historian: Fall 2016

Walk With a Doc As you may be aware, “Walk with a Doc” started in Columbus, Ohio, and we are privileged to have an active program in Culver City thanks to Vice-Mayor Jeff Cooper, Jeffrey Penso, MD, Sarah Carpenter, MD, and Grace Elliot. The walks have traditionally taken place on the third Saturday of the […]

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Barbecue Sauce Lost

With Labor Day having signaled the unofficial end of barbecue season, we wanted to take a look back at much loved and much missed Stern’s Famous Barbecue. Located at 12658 West Washington Blvd., Stern’s attracted fans from far and wide. Opened in 1922 by Isidor Stern, a Texas butcher, Stern’s eventually included a 32-room motel […]

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Fall 2016 Message

Dear Members and Friends, The year-long celebration of our city’s centennial has commenced! The Historical Society has no intention of overlooking this auspicious marker in our city’s history. We can’t wait to share activities with you as we roll them out over the course of the next year! If you are interested in joining the […]

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Notes From Your City Historian: Summer 2016

Think Fabric!  Think Conservation! There is no doubt that Culver City has an interesting history! We receive inquiries continuously asking about people, places and things. Did you know that one of the most appreciated areas of our collection is often made of fabric? Yes, first, you probably think of the MGM costume collection for which […]

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National Night Out 2016 | August 2, 5-7pm

Veterans Memorial Park | Sponsored by Culver City Police Department   Bring the family!

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Happy Birthday to our City Seal

You’ve seen it all over town. On buildings, municipal vehicles, City Council Chambers, official city documents, city flags, and even on the stainless steel sculpture “Filmstrip U.S.A.” in front of the Veterans Memorial Building. But did you know that this seal has been used for 80 years?                                                                                On August 3, 1936, by Ordinance No. […]

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July 20 General Meeting and Program

Exploring Culver City Families and Their Businesses: The Tinger-Eskridges and Culver City Flowers Multipurpose Room, Veterans Memorial Building, 7 pm As we approach our city’s 100th year, it is only fitting to share with you the story of another of our longtime family-owned businesses, Culver City Flowers. Earl and Virgie (Tinger) Eskridge’s family has a […]

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Memory Lane: Culver City’s Fireworks Stands

Culver City’s fireworks stands became a memory by the late 1980s. Although fireworks are illegal to set off in city neighborhoods today, the Exchange Club still sponsors an annual community fireworks show the evening of Monday, July 4, to be held this year at West Los Angeles College. For more info, go to http://culvercityfireworksshow.com/. Stay […]

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Summer 2016 Message

Dear Members and Friends, Many of you know “Uncle Syd” Kronenthal passed away last October. His contributions to this city and our Historical Society were vast, and his legacy will continue beyond his physical presence. The Historical Society was among a handful of organizations that Syd designated in his will as testamentary beneficiaries. This transformative […]

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Video posted from April 20, 2016 General Meeting and Program

If you missed our General Meeting and Program on April 20, 2016, featuring Craig Hodgetts, FAIA, of Hodgetts + Fung, and his presentation on the proposed interior renovations of Culver High’s Robert Frost Auditorium, we have posted the video on our YouTube page. Click here!

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May is Historic Preservation Month

May is National Historic Preservation Month. The National Trust for Historic Preservation has themed this year “This Place Matters,” and given that Culver City is about to celebrate our centennial year, we couldn’t agree more! Please join us in representing the Culver City Historical Society as we accept a proclamation from our City Council designating […]

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Teach, Love, Dig

As a friend of the Historical Society, you have repeatedly heard our important message about the need for support, primarily though membership and volunteerism. Here, we highlight another way to donate – the transformative gift. At the end of 2015, the Society was given a sizable and generous gift by noted anthropologist, archeologist, and Historical […]

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Notes From Your City Historian: Spring 2016

The first “historic marker” to commemorate a historic site in Culver City, was placed on the colonnade entry of Thomas Ince’s first studio (now Sony Pictures) by the Native Daughters of the Golden West.  Our own Clarita Marquez Young was a part of that, years before our historical society was established. The next marking took […]

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Spring 2016 Message

Dear Members and Friends, Happy Spring! I shy away from commenting in print the lack of materialization that was supposed to be the El Niño, for fear of a deluge by the time this newsletter goes to print. But, our umbrellas are for sale (and 25% off!) should such an occasion arise! Thank you to […]

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April 2016 General Meeting: Robert Frost Auditorium Renovation Architects

Hodgetts + Fung Design and Architecture Firm to Join April 20 General Meeting and Program The Culver City Historical Society invites its members and the community to learn about the exciting changes planned for Culver City High School’s landmark Robert Frost Auditorium at the Society’s April General Meeting and Program. Robert Frost Auditorium, designed by […]

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Culver City Historical Society To Install New Officers

The Culver City Historical Society’s Winter General Membership Meeting will be an Installation of Officers for 2016-2018, including an hors d’oeuvres reception catered by Holy Cow, on Wednesday, January 20, 2016, from 7:00 to 8:30 pm in the Lethbridge Garden Room of Veterans Memorial Building at 4117 Overland Avenue, Culver City. This will be the […]

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Notes From Your City Historian: Fall 2015

Your Archives At Work by Julie Lugo Cerra Our historical society fields some interesting calls and emails and these two are worth sharing! In July, an inquiry came in from a woman afar looking for information about a 1920s restaurant called “The Ham Tree Inn,” at 6139 Washington Boulevard. Her grandmother worked there as a […]

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Fall 2015 Message

Dear Members, This time next year, Culver City will commence a year-long celebration of its centennial. The Culver City Centennial Celebration Committee, headed by Councilmember Jim Clarke, was conceptualized almost two years to help plan, coordinate, and carry out events, activities, and projects by individuals and organizations that will celebrate Culver City. Culver City businesses, […]

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The Culver City Historical Society To Feature The History of the Culver City Police Department

The Culver City Historical Society’s Fall General Meeting and Program will be held on Wednesday, October 21, at 7 pm in the Multipurpose Room in the Veterans Memorial Building at 4117 Overland Avenue, Culver City. The program will feature Culver City’s Chief of Police Scott Bixby and Captain Ron Iizuka who will speak about today’s […]

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Join the Culver City Historical Society’s At Its Founder’s Day Picnic

The Culver City Historical Society invites its members and the community to its first annual Founder’s Day Picnic celebrating the 98th anniversary of the incorporation of Culver City, Sunday, September 20, 2015, from 12noon to 3 pm at the picnic area in Veterans Park, 4117 Overland Avenue in Culver City. Bring your hearty appetites because […]

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Searching History: Digital Newspapers

On Sunday, July 5, Society member Alex King, a noted researcher/genealogist, led one of our “Conversation” series in the Archives and Resource Center. Alex showcased resources like the University of California, Riverside digital library, from which he shared 1800’s era articles that offer insight into La Ballona School’s operation in 1875, and political meetings hosted […]

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News from the Costume Chair: Summer 2015

An Old Costume Finds a New Home by: Sharon Shore, Costumes Chair When Culver City native Carol Ball attended the MGM auctions in 1970, she was a teenager looking for costumes to wear for Halloween. Among her purchases was a two-piece dress worn by Marjorie Main in MGM’s 1946 production of The Harvey Girls. The […]

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Notes From Your City Historian: Summer 2015

An Independence Day Treat from the Archives by Julie Lugo Cerra It seems like most Culver City natives have a story to tell about “going to the movies.” After all, when you grow up in the “Heart of Screenland,” not only were movies made in our studios and on city streets, but we viewed them […]

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Summer 2015 Message

Dear Members, Culver City during the summer is pretty idyllic – close enough to catch ocean breezes, not locked into the valley. Harry Culver definitely knew what he was doing! In August, we will be the coolest place to hang out at Fiesta La Ballona, figuratively and literally, if past scorching temps have shown. The […]

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The Story of Johnnie’s Pastrami

The Culver City Historical Society invites you to hear the story of Johnnie’s Pastrami on Wednesday, July 15, 2015, at 7 p.m. in the Rotunda Room in the Veterans Memorial Building at 4117 Overland Avenue, Culver City. Do you remember where you were in 1952? The favorite TV program was “The Jackie Gleason Show,” the […]

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A Great Loss… Our Sol and Martha Sigall

Martha Sigall passed away in December 2014, preceded by her Sol. Martha Sigall, an energetic longtime Culver City resident began her career in animation in 1936 as an apprentice painter with Leon Schlesinger Productions, which was located at Warner Bros. on Sunset Boulevard. She took part in the development of characters like Daffy Duck, Bugs […]

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Spring 2015 President’s Message

Dear Members, Happy Spring! Your Historical Society volunteers have been making great use of the “cold” months. Sharon Shore and Mo de Koff have completed the gargantuan task of digitally cataloguing the collection’s costumes. One of Harry Culver’s grandsons, Chris Wilde, was a guest speaker at our January 18 open Sunday. We had a great […]

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The Sorrento Market Story and the Story of Albert Vera

Albert Vera, Jr. will tell the story of his father, Albert Vera, the founder of the Sorrento Market, at the general meeting of the Culver City Historical Society, Wednesday, April 15, 2015, at 7:00 p.m. in the Multi-Purpose Room in the Veterans Memorial Building at 4117 Overland Avenue, Culver City. Albert Vera, an immigrant who […]

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Notes from From your City Historian: Spring 2015

Notes from From your City Historian by Julie Lugo Cerra Culver City’s upcoming Centennial (2017) offers a little time to delve back into our city history. We are fortunate to have access to some incredible documents, ads, and family history on Harry H. Culver, our city founder. Culver, who was born in Milford, Nebraska in […]

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Culver City, Where Hollywood Movies Are Made!

Notes From Your City Historian by Julie Lugo Cerra Harry H. Culver’s interest in the emerging movie industry paved the way for Culver City to host three major movie studios, smaller studios and support services. Moviemaking offered a source of employment and generated a significant part of the revenue stream for a balanced community. Many […]

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Renown Historian Marc Wanamaker will reveal how Gone With the Wind Was Made

Marc Wanamaker will present a unique “behind-the-scenes” view on the making of the film Gone With The Wind, which marked its 75th anniversary in 2014, at the general meeting of the Culver City Historical Society, Wednesday, January 21, 2015, at 7:00pm in the Multi-Purpose Room in the Veterans Memorial Building at 4117 Overland Ave. From […]

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Harry Culver’s 7 Rules of Success

by Harry Culver’s younger grandson, Chris Wilde Harry Culver’s dream that became Culver City is inspiring. Young Harry was not rich. But he had a plan. Many said it was risky starting a town in the middle of nowhere. But his idea became reality. Today, Culver City stands proud. As Harry Culver’s grandson, people ask […]

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Winter 2015 Message

President’s Message by Michelle Bernardin, President Dear Members, I hope this note finds you and your family enjoying the wonderful delights and scents of the holidays. Your Historical Society had a busy 2014, and we continue to acquire more wonderful pieces of our city’s history, catalogue the beautiful costumes collection with the help of awesome […]

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Walk With a Doc – THIS Saturday, December 20

Walk With a Doc is this coming Saturday morning, December 20! Julie Lugo Cerra, City Historian (and our Museum/Archives VP), has designed a walking route that is manageable, and jammed pack with history. The tour/script can be downloaded here or can be picked up when you join the group! This is a great opportunity to […]

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The Making of the Wizard of Oz to be discussed by Author Aljean Harmetz

Aljean Harmetz, author of The Making of the Wizard of Oz, will discuss her book and reveal facts about the classic movie made in Culver City, which is marking its 75th anniversary this year, at the next general meeting of the Culver City Historical Society, Wednesday, October 15, 2014, at 7:30 p.m. in the Teen […]

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Car Rally and Scavenger Hunt

  Where else but in “The Heart of Screenland” can you drive around the city, search for specific locations and learn about Culver City history all at the same time? The Culver City Historical Society invites you to join the fun when it presents its Scavenger Hunt/Car Rally fundraiser on Sunday, September 21, 2014, from […]

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Samitaur Tower free event

The Culver City Historical Society partnered with Samitaur Constructs on a public arts project involving some of our historic images, student artists, and their Samitaur Tower, located near the Culver City EXPO stop, at the corner of Hayden and National. Student artists from Savannah College of Art and Design and University of New Mexico were […]

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2014 Picnic in the Park

Culver City Historical Society invites you to join us for Picnic in the Park Sunday, July 27, 2014 1pm – 4pm Music * Trivia * Raffle * BBQ * soft drinks and water provided by Santa Maria BBQ Society members: $25 in advance ($30 at the door) Non-members: $30 Children age 6-12: $12.50 each Mail […]

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Summer 2014 Message

President’s Message by Michelle Bernardin, President Dear Members, Summer is here (not that we had much of a winter)! I look forward to seeing you at BOTH of our July events – the July 16 General Meeting and the Annual Picnic on Sunday, July 27! This is the first time that we are having the […]

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The Creation of Culver City High School and Its First Graduating Class ’53

Can it be 60 plus years since the first class graduated from Culver City High School in 1953? Yes, the class often called “the first class in and the first class out” is the topic for the next general meeting of the Culver City Historical Society on Wednesday, July 16, 2014, at 7pm in the […]

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Spring 2014 Message

President’s Message by Michelle Bernardin, President Dear Members, Happy Spring! It was lovely to see so many of you at the Installation of Officers. We have a few new board members, and some entering second terms in their current positions. I can attest that this is a very enthusiastic and excited new group, who are […]

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Author and Cinematographer to Discuss MGM Backlots at Next Culver City Historical Society Meeting

Stephen Sylvester, co-author of M-G-M Hollywood’s Greatest Backlot, and Academy award winning cinematographer Fred Koenekamp will share the spotlight at the next general meeting of Culver City Historical Society on Wednesday, April 16, 2014, at 7 p.m. in the Veterans Memorial Building’s multi-purpose room. Sylvester will present a short film and a PowerPoint presentation illustrating […]

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Happy New Year 2014

President’s Message by Michelle Bernardin, President Dear Members, I hope this note finds you and your family enjoying the wonderful delights and scents of the holidays. Your Historical Society had a busy 2013, and we hope you will enjoy our “Year in Review” section. Our annual picnic, the 100th Anniversary of Harry Culver’s speech at […]

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Installation of Officers, January 15, 2014

You are cordially invited to attend the Culver City Historical Society’s Installation honoring the Society’s 13th president, Michelle Bernardin, and officers for 2014-2016 in the Sony Pictures Plaza (SPP) Atrium Museum. The event will take place on Wednesday evening, January 15, 2014 from 6:30-8:30 pm. The 2014-2016 officers will be: Michelle Bernardin, President Tami Eskridge, […]

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Julie Lugo Cerra Leads Genealogy Garage Workshop

From the Genealogy Garage press release: If you are not acquainted with the historical society in your family’s hometown, then you are missing out on some valuable information—especially since all towns are proud of their heritage. Some societies have a museum, photograph files, a database, and are repositories for the town’s oldest records. Others are […]

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Reel Culver City Fall 2013

REEL CULVER CITY by Marc Wanamaker REMEMBERING HARRY CULVER’S VISION OF THE “MOVIES” As we approach Culver City’s Centennial, it seems appropriate to look back to the early days of filmmaking in the city – the industry that Harry Culver first encouraged, and which led to the city’s motto of being the “Heart of Screenland.” […]

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Fall 2013 ARC Update

by Julie Lugo Cerra, Vice President, Museum/ARC and City Historian SOCIETY’S GIFT SHOP HAS NEW LOOK When you next visit the ARC you will see some changes in our display space. This is to accommodate the savvy new look accomplished by the Development Committee for our “Gift Shop.” In the process of re-arranging, we have […]

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Costumes Fall 2013

NEWS FROM THE COSTUME CHAIR . . . by Sharon Shore, Costumes Chair CATALOGUING THE COSTUME COLLECTION FOR THE FUTURE Beginning in the spring of this year, we continued a project to transfer handwritten costume catalog information from notebooks to the Society’s museum collection database. We hope to finish the transfer by the end of […]

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“The Kirk Douglas Theatre and its Metamorphosis”

Eric Sims, Operations Manager of the Kirk Douglas Theatre and President of the Culver City Downtown Business Association will be the featured speaker at the Culver City Historical Society’s general meeting on Wednesday, October 16, 2013, at 7 p.m. in the Veterans Memorial Building’s Multi-Purpose Room, 4117 Overland Avenue, Culver City, 90230. Sims, who is […]

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New Public Hours for the ARC

The Culver City Historical Society has changed the days of operation of its Archives and Resource Center (ARC), located behind the Veterans Memorial Building at 4117 Overland Avenue in Culver City, from the first and third Saturday of each month to the first and third Sunday of each month from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m, or […]

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Culver City Historical Society Events During the Fiesta La Ballona 2013

Costume Competition The Culver City Historical Society is sponsoring a Costume Contest during the Fiesta La Ballona to commemorate Culver City’s early California heritage. The competition, which will be held on Sunday, August 25, 2013, at 10:30 a.m. near the staging area in Veterans Park, encourages contestants to dress as Native Americans, Spanish colonials, rancheros, […]

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Annual Picnic and Gathering 7/17/2013

The Culver City Historical Society invites its members and the community to its annual picnic at Veterans Park on Wednesday, July 17, 2013. Festivities will begin at 5:30 p.m. with soft drinks and conversation in the picnic area. Dinner will be served from 6:30 -7:30 p.m. Bring your appetites and come watch Jim Rodrigues from […]

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Costumes Summer 2013

by Sharon Shore, Costumes Chair “ELEPHANTS” PARADE DOWN OVERLAND AVE FOR “JUMBO” Due to its unique history as home to several famous movie studios, Culver City has witnessed many intriguing events. Heads must have turned in 1962 when a small group of elephants, including Sidney the Elephant, strolled down Overland Avenue on location for the […]

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Society to Celebrate 100th Anniversary of Harry Culver’s Dream Speech

On July 22, 1913, Harry H. Culver, then a young real estate developer, made an important announcement at the original California Club in Downtown, Los Angeles. He presented his vision for a new city before directors, stockholders, and friends of the newly formed Culver Investment Company with such enthusiasm that the enthralled group named it […]

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Memories Of A Visit To Culver City’s Famous "40-acres" Backlot In 1972

REEL CULVER CITY by Marc Wanamaker AFI REQUESTS DOCUMENTING OF FAMED STUDIO SITE In the summer of 1972 while working at the American Film Institute in Beverly Hills, I was asked by an AFI writer to be the photographer on a field trip to the famous “40 Acres” backlot in Culver City. The writer was […]

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Summer 2013 ARC Update

by Julie Lugo Cerra, Vice President, Museum/ARC and City Historian THE ARC SERVES LOCALS WITH RESEARCH AND MORE This last quarter, we have been cataloging and reordering the ARC to better serve you. We have assisted local residents on a number of inquiries, including research on Poinsettia Court, a quaint street off Higuera that was […]

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Michelle Bernardin New Culver City Historical Society President

Culver City native Michelle Bernardin has been named president of the Culver City Historical Society upon the resignation of former president Louise Coffey-Webb. Bernardin’s roots in Culver City go back to her father, Roger, whose family moved from Santa Monica to the west side of Culver City in 1956. She attended St. Augustine’s School and […]

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Summer 2013 Message

President’s Message by Michelle Bernardin, President Dear Historical Society Members, At the May 15, 2013 Historical Society board meeting, Louise Coffey-Webb submitted and distributed a letter of resignation for her position as President, effective immediately, citing family health issues and an immediate need to leave the country to attend to this situation. As outlined in […]

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The Society Celebrates Historic Preservation Month

May is always a special month for the Culver City Historical Society as it has been designated as the National Historic Preservation Month. This year’s theme is SEE! SAVE! CELEBRATE! What does this mean to Culver City? At the May 14, 2013 Culver City Cultural Affairs Commission meeting, City Historian Julie Lugo Cerra will offer […]

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Spring 2013 ARC Update

by Julie Lugo Cerra, Vice President, Museum/ARC and City Historian POSTCARD CAPTURES THE 1950s Look at this gem from our collection! The photo is an actual Culver City postcard circa 1960. How about those cars? On the left, note the Hull Building (now AKASHA Restaurant), one of the early sites marked by our Society. It […]

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Reel Culver City Spring 2013

REEL CULVER CITY by Marc Wanamaker FILMLAND CORPORATE CENTER CULVER CITY CULVER CITY RENEWAL IN THE 1980S The 1980s was a time for renewal in Culver City and the resident studios were already beginning to remodel and modernize their lots for the future of film and television production. It was also a time when the […]

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LANA TURNER PORTRAYS CAREER GIRL IN 1950 FILM

News from the Costume Chair by Sharon Shore, Costume Chair LANA TURNER PORTRAYS CAREER GIRL IN 1950 FILM In 1950, Lana Turner wore our Spring display costume portraying “Lily James” in the film, A Life of Her Own. George Cukor directed the film which was made at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios in Culver City. In this postwar […]

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Spring 2013 Message

President’s Message by Louise Coffey-Webb, President Dear Members, Welcome Spring (and about time too!)… And welcome to all our new and renewing members! Just in case we’re not ready to say “goodbye” to cold weather, our next public program will be on the frosty theme of Ice Skating in Culver City , which has quite […]

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Society to Feature John Jackson, Owner-Manager of the Culver Ice Arena

The Culver City Historical Society is pleased to announce that John Jackson, the owner and manager of the Culver Ice Arena since 1982, will be the featured speaker at the Society’s general meeting, which will take place on Wednesday, April 17, 2013, at 7 p.m. in the Veterans Memorial Building’s Multi-Purpose Room, 4117 Overland Avenue, […]

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The Historic Culver City Racing Scene

by Kevin Triplett Author’s note: For the past six months, the author spent his workweek in the west Los Angeles suburb of Culver City, which led him to research the rich racing history of the community. Certain areas of the country have always been automobile racing “hot spots,” such as the pre-war “Gasoline Alley” in […]

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Society to Feature Artist-Designer Jerome Ackerman

Long-time Culver City resident Jerome “Jerry” Ackerman, an artist-designer and a driving force in the Mid-Century Modern art movement in California, will be the featured speaker at the Culver City Historical Society’s general meeting on Wednesday, January 16, 2013, at 7:00 p.m. in the Veterans Memorial Building’s Multi-Purpose Room, 4117 Overland Avenue, Culver City, 90230. […]

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Winter 2013 Message

President’s Message by Louise Coffey-Webb, President Dear Members, This Fall we enjoyed a fascinating presentation at our October General Meeting by Jim Lamm, President of the Ballona Creek Renaissance, who discussed the natural history of our communal "backyard” as well as the wonderful improvements to the “human” portion of the Creek, which is now quite […]

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Winter 2013 ARC Update

by Julie Lugo Cerra, Vice President, Museum/ARC and City Historian RESEARCH PROJECTS FOR STUDENTS AND A POPULAR TV SHOW We have enjoyed assisting student researchers, from elementary through grad school, on a variety of topics. Special thanks to members Jean Barker, June Caldwell, and Maxine Mytar, whose movie industry background was invaluable to numerous film […]

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Free Screening of A Night at the Opera

This year marks the 95th anniversary of Culver City’s incorporation. To celebrate, Made in Culver City, a free film program presented by the Culver City Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department, will screen A Night at the Opera starring The Marx Brothers, on December 29, 2012 at 3:00 p.m. in Veterans Memorial Auditorium at Veterans […]

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COSTUME IDENTIFICATION OFTEN DIFFICULT

News from the Costume Chair by Sharon Shore, Costume Chair COSTUME IDENTIFICATION OFTEN DIFFICULT As some of you might know that clues to the production history of many costumes in our MGM collection can be found in the hand written cloth tags that we find sewn inside. The tags are inscribed in ink with various […]

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Reel Culver City Winter 2013

REEL CULVER CITY by Marc Wanamaker A SHORT OVERVIEW OF HIS STUDIOS AND HIS HOMES At the recent Culver City Historical Society special program with author Brian Taves, there were questions about the chronology and specific studio facilities of film pioneer, Thomas H. Ince. Questions such as, which Thomas Ince studio was built first in […]

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CCHS to Host Brian Taves, Author of Thomas Ince Biography

A “Meet and Greet” with author Brian Taves, film archivist with the Library of Congress since 1990, will be hosted by the Culver City Historical Society on Saturday, December 8, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. in the Archives and Resource Center (ARC). Taves’ book, Thomas Ince: Hollywood’s Independent Pioneer, the first ever written about Ince’s life, […]

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ARC Closed December 1st

The ARC will be closed on Saturday, December 1 due to a lack of access to the building on that day. We will be open again on Saturday, December 15 from 1:00-3:00 p.m.! Please come by!

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Celebrating CC’s 95th Anniversary

The Culver City Historical Society presented “Meet Me in Culver City,” a celebration to honor Culver City’s 95th Anniversary, on Sunday, September 23, 2012, at the historic Culver Hotel. Margaret O’Brien, Oscar-winning icon from MGM, served as Honorary Chair of the event and was honored with a commendation from the Culver City Council. Miss O’Brien […]

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Society to Feature Ballona Creek Renaissance President

The Culver City Historical Society (CCHS) will feature Jim Lamm, president of the Ballona Creek Renaissance (BCR) at its general meeting on Wednesday, October 17, 2012, at 7 p.m. in the Veterans Memorial Building’s Multi-Purpose Room, located at 4117 Overland Avenue, Culver City, 90230. Lamm will narrate a virtual tour of the creek in his […]

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Fall 2012 Message

President’s Message by Louise Coffey-Webb, President Dear Members, Fall is upon us, and our annual fun “Picnic in the Park” seems a long happy time ago now. I am pleased to report that we had a record turn-out, were serenaded by our Steve Fry’s Dixieland band, “Razzmatazz,” while our City Historian Julie Lugo Cerra regaled […]

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Famed German WWI Hero Visits Culver City in 1927

REEL CULVER CITY by Marc Wanamaker COUNT FELIX VON LUCKMAN COMES TO AMERICA WITH PRAISE On July 11, 1927, the Los Angeles Times announced, “German Sea Raider Will Visit Here” Adventurer-journalist-writer Lowell Thomas said that Count Felix Von Luckner, German WWI hero, was coming to Los Angeles on an around the world sailing-lecture tour to […]

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“Meet Me At The ARC”!

News from the Costume Chair by Sharon Shore, Costume Chair Visitors to the ARC are in for a treat from the golden age of musicals! Our costume display features a one-piece worn in Meet Me in St. Louis, a film made by MGM in 1944.  This romantic musical starring Judy Garland and Margaret O’Brien portrays […]

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Fall 2012 ARC Update

by Julie Lugo Cerra, Vice President, Museum/ARC and City Historian A Busy Summer At The Arc First, let us say that this simmer has not been without its challenges, but we are now very “cool” in many ways! We are back in business with air conditioning in “the West Wing” which is so important for […]

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Margaret O’Brien is Honorary Event Chair for “Meet Me In Culver City” Event

The Culver City Historical Society will present “Meet Me In Culver City,” a celebration to honor Culver City’s 95th anniversary, on Sunday, September 23, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the Historic Culver Hotel, 9400 Culver Boulevard, Culver City, 90232. Margaret O’Brien, legendary Oscar-winning icon from MGM, is serving as Honorary Chair of the event […]

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CCHS To Host Noted Anthropologist at Special Meeting

The Culver City Historical Society will host noted anthropologist and archeologist Dr. Charles Rozaire at a special meeting on Saturday, August 18, 2012, in the society’s Archive and Resource Center (ARC) from 1-3 p.m. Dr. Rozaire grew up in Culver City, attended Culver City Grammar School, and received his BA, MA and PhD at UCLA. […]

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ARC closed Saturday, July 21

The ARC will be closed on Saturday, July 21. Parking at Veteran’s Memorial Complex will be impacted due to the Los Angeles Bodybuilding, Figure, Physique and Bikini Championships that day.

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Save the Date: The Culver City Historical Society’s Fall Fundraiser

Come join us in celebrating Culver City’s 95th Birthday! The Culver City Historical Society’s Fall Fundraiser will be held at the Historic Culver Hotel on Sunday, September, 23, 2012 from 2:00-5:00 p.m. Check back soon for more details.

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Reel Culver City Summer 2012

REEL CULVER CITY by Marc Wanamaker STUDIO RESEARCH LIBRARIES & THE BISON ARCHIVES COLLECTION 40 YEARS OF DEDICATION PRODUCES AN EXTRAORDINARY FILM ARCHIVE Bison Archives – named in tribute to the Bison Film Company, an early motion picture studio (formed in 1909) that produced Westerns featuring Native American casts – was collected by this author […]

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Summer 2012 Message

President’s Message by Louise Coffey-Webb, President Dear Members, First of all, a warm welcome to all the new members, as well as those of you who renewed. It was fun to meet new faces at our last program of Broadway Melody: The Songs & Stories with tenor Winston Gieseke and accompanist Steve Fry. It was […]

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RSVP Now For the CCHS Annual Picnic on July 18!

Once again by popular demand, this year’s annual Culver City Historical Society Picnic and meeting — taking place Wednesday, July 18, 2012 — will be catered by Santa Maria BBQ. A savory dinner will be cooked in the picnic area in Veterans Memorial Park by Jim Rodrigues, who will demonstrate the special techniques that have […]

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Summer 2012 ARC Update

by Julie Lugo Cerra, Vice President, Museum/ARC and City Historian NEW FLAT FILES WILL PRESERVE RARE ITEMS The acquisition of new flat files has augmented our ability to safely store many precious items, including the oversize book on City Founder Harry Culver’s trip across the country in 1929-30. It contains an amazing collection of HHC’s […]

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Summer 2012 Costumes Message

News from the Costume Chair by Sharon Shore, Costume Chair Rare Esther Williams Costume When you stop by the ARC this summer be sure to see the body suit worn by Esther Williams in the film Neptune’s Daughter, produced by MGM in 1949. This might be the one and only opportunity we have to display […]

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Broadway Melodies Come to Life in Culver City

The Culver City Historical Society will feature the history, music, songs and stories from MGM’s Broadway Melody musical movies produced between 1929 and 1944 at its general meeting on Wednesday, April 18, 2012, at 7 p.m. in the Veterans Memorial Building’s Multipurpose Room, 4117 Overland Avenue, Culver City, 90230 The program, presented by tenor Winston […]

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Reel Culver City Spring 2012

REEL CULVER CITY by Marc Wanamaker CULVER CITY MUNICIPAL AIRPORT AND THE MARGARET PERRY AIRPORT One of the most important industries that helped the Los Angeles area develop into one of the world’s major cities was the aviation industry. Beginning at the turn of the last century with ballooning in 1903, private airports were created […]

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Spring 2012 Message

President’s Message by Louise Coffey-Webb, President Dear Members, I am still glowing from the warm welcome and fun celebration we had at the installation in January. Held at the historic Culver Studios, we were captivated with the pertinent and humorous talk given by installing officer Dr. Janet Fireman, editor of the California History journal and […]

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Join CCHS in Celebrating City Tavern’s One Year Anniversary!

Be a part of Culver City history and join us this Tuesday, April 3, 2012 for a very special evening as City Tavern celebrates the 1st of many anniversary parties to come while benefitting the Culver City Historical Society! 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. – by invitation passed appetizers & cocktails hosted by City Tavern […]

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New displays, Women’s History and Spring Cleaning

by Sharon Shore, Costume Committee Chair Our latest costume display is an homage to women’s history in the West represented by many diverse items. One special display included photos and historic references to a little known “woman behind the man.” Lillian Roberts Culver, an actress who married our city founder, Harry Culver in 1916. Also […]

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Spring 2012 ARC Update

by Julie Lugo Cerra , Vice President, Museum/ARC and City Historian THE ARC/MUSEUM COMMITTEE BEGINS ITS WORK First, let me thank all of the folks who have expressed interest in the Museum Committee. We had our first meeting in January with Bill Barnett, Louise Coffey-Webb, Sharon Shore, Michelle Bernardin, Carol Schwab, Steve Rose and David […]

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Join us at the Annual Mayor’s Luncheon

The 32nd Annual Mayor’s Luncheon will be held on Thursday, March 29, 2012, at the DoubleTree by Hilton, at 6161 Centinela Blvd. in Culver City. Outgoing Mayor Mehaul O’Leary will give the State of the City address and you will learn about the accomplishments of Culver City over the last year. If you would like […]

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General Membership Meeting & Dinner on January 18th

The Culver City Historical Society’s Winter General Membership Dinner-Meeting will be held on Wednesday, January 18th at 6:30 pm in the Dining Room of the historic Culver Studios in downtown Culver City at 9336 West Washington Boulevard. This will be the Installation of President-Elect Louise Coffey-Webb and her Board as well as a thank you […]

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Winter 2012 Message

President’s Message by Stu Freeman, President Dear Members, This will be my last message as President of your Culver City Historical Society. It has been four wonderful years of learning and working with a group of dedicated members (now friends) who together have improved and moved our Archives & Resource Center (ARC) significantly forward. Movies […]

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Winter 2012 ARC Update

by Winston Gieseke, Vice President, Museum/ARC IT’S BEEN A WONDERFUL YEAR AT THE ARC From screening classic films made in Culver City to showing off pieces from our collection of priceless Fiesta costumes and fabulous wardrobe gems from the MGM vaults, it’s been a memorable year at the Archives & Resource Center (ARC). SONY’S DONATION […]

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Fundraising, Gwen Verdon and a New Costumes Chair

by Louise Coffee-Webb, Costume Committee Chair Some of you may have been aware that Debbie Reynolds has been auctioning her famous “Hollywood” collection this year, at the Paley Center in Beverly Hills (formerly the Museum of Television and Radio). She began collecting in 1970 at the time of the famed MGM auctions. I was working […]

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Willat Studios in Early Culver City

REEL CULVER CITY by Marc Wanamaker WILLAT BROTHERS OPEN OWN INDEPENDENT STUDIO Built from 1920-1921, the brothers, Carl and Irvin Willat, opened their own independent studio in Culver City at what is now Washington Boulevard, Willat and Hoke Streets. Carl ‘Doc’ Willat, a former Technicolor executive and studio owner/builder in Fort Lee, New Jersey, arranged […]

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History of Culver City Police Department

The Culver City Police Department’s (CCPD) Public Information Officer, Lieutenant Ronald Iizuka is the featured speaker at the Culver City Historical Society’s general meeting on Wednesday, October 19, 2011, at 7 p.m. in the Veterans Memorial Building’s Multipurpose Room, 4117 Overland Avenue, Culver City, 90230. Lt. Iizuka will give a history of the department with […]

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Fall 2011 Message

President’s Message by Stu Freeman, President Dear Members, As my second and final term as President of your Culver City Historical Society will conclude at the end of this year, I want to tell you all how proud I’ve been to represent the Society and how much I’ve enjoyed the past four years. It has […]

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Save the Date: Membership Program 10/19

The next membership meeting program for the Culver City Historical Society will take place October 19, 2011. The topic will be The History of the Culver City Police Department. Check back for more information.

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A Doozy of a Do That Did

More than 80 people, many dressed to the nines in 1920s finery, filled the lobby of the Culver Hotel to celebrate Culver City’s 94th anniversary at the Culver City Historical Society’s Doozy of a Do fundraising event on Sunday, September 18. Setting the mood with sentimental tunes, Doozy, a band playing sounds of the 1920s […]

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Free Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Screening September 17

Made in Culver City, a free film program presented by the City of Culver City, will feature Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde starring Spencer Tracy on September 17, 2011 at 7:30pm in Culver City’s City Hall Courtyard. Culver City City Hall is located at 9770 Culver Boulevard and parking and dining are available in Downtown […]

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Don’t Miss: A “Doozy” of A Do

The Culver City Historical Society will present a celebration of the city’s 94-year history that promises to be a real doozy at the newly-renovated Historic Culver Hotel at 9400 Washington Boulevard, Culver City, on Sunday, September 18, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Festivities will include music and dancing to the music of “Doozy,” a band […]

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Don’t miss the Fiesta La Ballona this weekend; ARC open Sat. & Sun.

This weekend, August 26, 27, & 28, come out and celebrate Culver City’s annual Fiesta La Ballona. Browse through the booths, taste the food, hang out in the beer garden, listen to the bands, watch the presentations, go on the carnival rides, and have some fun! Also come by and check out the Archives & […]

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This Saturday at the ARC: North By Northwest

The Archives & Resource Center (ARC) will be open this Saturday from 1:00 to 3:00. Come by and enjoy a free screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic North By Northwest, which was shot in Culver City and stars Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, and James Mason. Summary: A hapless New York advertising executive is mistaken for […]

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The Annual Costume Society of America Symposium

News from the Costume Chair by Louise Coffey-Webb, Costume Committee Chair I have just returned from rainstorms in Boston where I was attending the annual Costume Society of America Symposium. I presented a lecture on Ganna Walska, a well-known Polish opera singer and socialite, whose designer of choice was the legendary Erté – famous for […]

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A Golden Costume on Display

News from the Costume Chair by Louise Coffey-Webb, Costume Committee Chair Just in time for the holidays and a glitzy new year, we have a golden costume on display in the Archive Resource Center. Those of you who saw Visiting… with Huell Howser: Culver City this Fall, may remember when he looked at a sparkling […]

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El Marino Students Tour the Past to See the Future

Notes from Your City Historianby Julie Lugo Cerra Our children are our future – and how important it is to offer them a window into the past, to help them make grounded future-oriented decisions. Two days toward the end of the school year, we “shared” busloads of students from El Marino School with CCPD for […]

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Culver City Chamber of Commerce Expo June 22

Once again, the CC Historical Society, a proud member of the Chamber, was pleased to participate in the Culver City Chamber of Commerce Expo on June 22nd at Media Park. This year marks the Chamber’s 90th Anniversary! Pictured (L-R): Alan and Lydia Spiegelman, Steve Fry and CCHS Pres. Stu Freeman. Also working the CCHS booth […]

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Summer 2011 Message

President’s Message by Stu Freeman, President First, let me thank those of you who responded so enthusiastically to my article in our last newsletter. As you may recall, I requested that if you were doing some “spring cleaning” and happened to find anything that relates to Culver City history, to please consider donating it to […]

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Margaret Cruz at 100

Descendants of our Early Settlers give us wonderful “pieces” of history by sharing memories that describe our cultural landscape. We are lucky to have many stories of the founding families of Rancho La Ballona: brothers Agustin and Ygnacio Machado, Felipe Talamantes and his son, Tomas. Margaret Lamorie Cruz, a descendent of Felipe Talamantes, reached a […]

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Culver City Historical Society Receives Proclamation for “Historical Preservation”

As May is national “Historic Preservation Month,” it was most appropriate for the Culver City Council to present to the Culver City Historical Society at its May 2nd meeting a special Proclamation honoring the Society for its long history of historical preservation. President Stu Freeman accepted the proclamation with many of the CCHS Board and […]

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Visits to the ARC

Culver High Alum Dan Bloom (’63) [left] who built the “visually historic” screen for the Archives & Resource Center (ARC), visible behind, and Ron Crawford (’61) visited the ARC in June and were happy to see the growth. Danny lives in Dana Point and Ron was visiting from Folsom (the city, not the prison).

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Movie Studios of Culver City Book signing

At the April 19th General Membership Meeting, our special program featured a most unique event — the signing of a wonderful new book by two of our most prestigious members: Julie Lugo Cerra and Marc Wanamaker. Movie Studios of Culver City is the latest edition to the “Images of America” series and another focusing on […]

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Annual Picnic & Meeting July 20

Back by popular demand, this year’s annual Culver City Historical Society Picnic & meeting on Wednesday, July 20, 2011, will be catered by the city’s own Santa Maria Barbecue Co. A savory dinner will be cooked in the picnic area of Veterans Memorial Park (above) by the restaurant’s owner, Jim Rodrigues, who will demonstrate the […]

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Elections for New Officers in October

Attention CCHS Members: The October General Meeting will be elections for new officers. Based on the Culver City Historical Society’s By-Laws, Article IV, Section 1 which covers Nominations and Elections of new officers, in July, President Stu Freeman will form an Election Nominating Committee. This committee will make inquiry calls to members in good standing […]

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Original MGM Traffic Signal Finds new Home at ARC

by Winston Gieseke, Vice President, Museum/ARC Original MGM Traffic Signal Finds new Home at ARC One of the most exciting things about being Museum chair is seeing new and exciting artifacts from Culver City’s history. One item you won’t want to miss is an authentic MGM traffic signal, generously donated by former Culver City Mayor Richard […]

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ARC closed this Saturday, May 7

The Archives & Resource Center (ARC), which is normally open on the first and third Saturdays of each month, will be closed on Saturday, May 7, 2011, because the Car Show is taking place in downtown Culver City that day, as are several other events that members may wish to attend. The ARC will be […]

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A Special Guest Visits the ARC: Deborah Landis

News from the Costume Chair by Louise Coffey-Webb, Costume Committee Chair I wanted to let you know about some very interesting visitors we had the pleasure of hosting at the ARC at the end of last year. Deborah Nadoolman Landis, and her assistant, Natasha Rubin, came to look at some of our MGM costumes. Why? […]

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New Book Released on the Movie Studios of Culver City

REEL CULVER CITY by Marc Wanamaker A new book has just been released that, I must confess, I believe is a wonderful addition to the history of “The Heart of Screenland.” Co-authored by Julie Lugo Cerra and myself, Marc Wanamaker, Movie Studios of Culver City was a project discussed many years ago and has now […]

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Local History Becoming Popular with All Ages!

Notes from Your City Historian by Julie Lugo Cerra There seems to be a lot of interest in local history, which is very encouraging! New businesses even call to learn about the story of their site (often some fun surprises there!) Children are especially great fun on tours. We are scheduled to work with students […]

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A Reminder: Renew CCHS Memberships!

by Lydia Spiegelman Membership Chair The CCHS Membership renewals are due at the beginning of the year. This is a great Historical Society, wonderful things are happening and we want you all to be a part of it! Please consider becoming a Patron, a Lifetime Member, a Corporate Sponsor or a Benefactor. Being a member […]

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Don’t Miss the General Membership Meeting

Special Program: “Movie Studios of Culver City” The Culver City Historical Society’s Spring General Membership Meeting will be held this Wednesday, April 20th at 7:00 p.m. in the Multi-Purpose Room at the Veterans Memorial Building, 4117 Overland Avenue. Please park and enter from the rear of the building. Co-authors, Julie Lugo Cerra and Marc Wanamaker […]

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“Spring Cleaning” Update, Spring 2011 Message

President’s Message by Stu Freeman, President Have you recently cleaned out a closet, an attic or a garage? Has any of your family or friends? Did you find something that relates to the history of Culver City and/or your family’s history to the city? For example: Ticket stubs from the Culver or Meralta theatres Order […]

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Sony Pictures Donation Kicks Off Free Screenings with Easter Parade

A warm and hearty thanks goes out to our friends at Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) for their generous donation of a new 40” flat screen Sony Bravia Television and a Blu-ray/DVD player to the Archives & Resource Center (ARC). Not only has SPE, which came to Culver City in January of 1990, taken historic preservation […]

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Culver City Historian and Film Industry Expert To Present New Book: Movie Studios of Culver City

Julie Lugo Cerra, official Culver City historian, and Marc Wanamaker, noted film industry author and consultant, will present images and commentary based on their recently published book, Movie Studios of Culver City at the Culver City Historical Society’s general meeting Wednesday, April 20 at 7 p.m. in the Multi-Purpose Room at the Veterans Memorial Building, […]

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Items in the ARC

An ARC Updateby Winston Gieseke, Vice President, Museum/ARC I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and are working hard to keep your New Years resolutions! Cecil B. DeMille: Special CC Police Officer! I hope one of your goals for the new year was to seep yourself in Culver City history, and I invite […]

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Profile: The Wende Museum

In the early 1990s, the Cold War came to a dramatic end. Since then, historical landmarks have been torn down, statues have been vandalized and documents have been destroyed throughout Eastern Europe. Founder and Executive Director Justinian Jampol established The Wende Museum and Archive of the Cold War as a non-profit organization in 2002. His […]

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Historic Site #13 – Veterans Memorial Building

The Culver City Historical Society (CCHS) designated the Veterans Memorial Building as Historic Site #13 at 10am on Saturday, December 10, 2011. The building, located at Culver Boulevard and Overland Avenue (4117 Overland Avenue), one of the most often-used structures in the city, has had a vibrant history, which is noted on the bronze plaque […]

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Legion Building Update

Notes from Your City Historianby Julie Lugo Cerra The Jewish Home for the Aging held a second community meeting in November to share their plans for a project on Hughes Avenue – the first was held in Dec., 2009. Three Historical Society members attended, Stu Freeman, Catherine Yanda and myself. The plans which will be […]

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Bob Wayne and the Sunburst Recording Studio

Bob Wayne, founder, director and chief engineer of Culver City’s premier recording studio – Sunburst Recording – enthralled an audience of more than 50 Historical Society members and friends on Wednesday evening, October 20, 2010, with his exploits as a performer and in recording the celebrities of Los Angeles for more than 30 years. His […]

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Ceremony Remembers Congressman Julian Dixon

Library Ceremony Commemorates Namesake Julian Dixon devoted himself to public service for almost forty years. After graduating from UCLA, he was elected to the California State Assembly as a Democrat in 1972, and, after serving in that body for three terms, he was then elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from California’s 28th and […]

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Do you remember this?

It’s a speaker from the old Studio Drive-In!

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Hal Roach Studios’ “Our Gang” Comedies On Location At Palms Station

REEL CULVER CITY by Marc Wanamaker Since the founding of Culver City, the motion picture industry, which helped found the small city’s location filmmaking in and around the town, was the closest option for location managers. The Culver City Pacific Electric Station on Washington Boulevard had been used on-and-off for many years by the nearby […]

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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 […]

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General Membership Meeting – Wednesday, January 19th

The Culver City Historical Society’s Winter General Membership Meeting will be held tomorrow night, Wednesday, January 19 at 7:00 p.m. in the Multi-Purpose Room at the Veterans Memorial Building, 4117 Overland Avenue. Please park and enter from the rear of the building. Justinian Jampol, founder and Executive Director of the Wende Museum and Archive of […]

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Winter 2011 Message

President’s Message by Stu Freeman, President As 2010 fades into the past, I am very happy to report that it was an especially good year for your Historical Society. We gained many new members, had outstanding attendance at our quarterly programs–and this year’s annual summer picnic was called the best ever! We’ve also enhanced the […]

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Society features Founder of Local Cold War Museum

Justinian Jampol, Founder and Director of the Culver City based Wende Museum and Archive of the Cold War, is the featured speaker at the Culver City Historical Society’s general meeting on Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 7 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room in Veterans Auditorium. The Wende Museum preserves the cultural artifacts and personal histories […]

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A Special Message from the Society’s First President

by Cathy Zermeno I am very proud of how the Culver City Historical Society was officially organized in 1980 and to see how it’s grown into a strong and vital organization, respected by our community and our sister historical societies as well. It was not an easy task to persuade the City Officials to support […]

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Sony Pictures Entertainment Website Earns Prestigious Award

Good news from our friends, and corporate sponsor, Sony Pictures Entertainment: The Sony Pictures online museum won multiple awards in three prestigious website competitions in 2010. The museum was selected as an Official Honoree for the Movie and Film category in the 14th Annual Webby Awards, the leading international award honoring excellence on the Internet […]

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Fall 2010 ARC Update

by Winston Gieseke, Vice President, Museum/ARC 2010: Busy & Productive It has been a busy and productive summer at the Archives & Resource Center (ARC), and an exciting one. We had a terrific turnout at the museum during the Fiesta La Ballona, and I’d like to thank all of those who were able to stop by […]

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Preservation imperative for costumes and people

News from the Costume Chair by Louise Coffey-Webb, Costume Committee Chair Costumes are similar to people in that, from the moment they are created, they begin to deteriorate! In other words, preservation becomes of vital importance. Gone With the Wind & The Harry Ransom Center On that note, a happy story appeared in The Hollywood […]

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30 Years and Still Moving Evolving!

Notes from Your City Historianby Julie Lugo Cerra After 30 years, it is still gratifying to see our CC Historic Society continue to grow and become more of a resource. Our physical site and collections are always improving, and we now have our own website, thanks to Winston Gieseke, VP, Museum/ARC. We will be linking […]

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Laurel and Hardy On Location In Culver City

  by Marc Wanamaker Early Filming Used CC as “Background” Before filmmaking became a big industry in Culver City, early film companies used the area as backgrounds for a variety of geographical areas. First City & Open Areas, then “Backlots” When producer/director Thomas Ince first sent a unit to the Culver City area around 1913, […]

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Fall 2010 Message

President’s Message by Stu Freeman, President In our last newsletter, I mentioned that we have acquired many of the wonderful Our Gang comedies as well as numerous Laurel & Hardy comedies on DVDs for screening at the CCHS Archives & Research Center. We have now added another 80 Our Gang DVDs and we are presently […]

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CCHS Adopts New Logo

by Stephen M. Fry VP for Programs One of the Society’s most exciting projects – and one that has been in review for some time – is its newly created logo. In Board meeting discussions about how the Society might develop an appropriate logo, several avenues were open, including having Society members contribute designs, hiring […]

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Recording Studio Owner Will Share Insights at Society General Meeting

Bob Wayne, owner, director and chief engineer of Sunburst Recording Studio in Culver City, will share his experiences in the music and recording business at the general meeting of the Culver City Historical Society on Wednesday, October 20, at 7 p.m. Wayne’s work encompasses a wide array of media (music, film, television, spoken word) and […]

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Culver City High School Senior Creates Film About Culver City History

Are you interested in the history of Culver City? Do you wonder why our city is called “The Heart of Screenland”? Come to a special film screening of “History is Gold: An Oral History of Culver City” on Saturday, October 9, in the Culver City Historical Society’s ARC (Archive and Resource Center) in the back […]

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Early Fiestas: Recollections of Julie Lugo Cerra

by Julie Lugo Cerra Fiesta La Ballona Days began in 1951 as a weeklong celebration of local heritage. There was something happening daily during this festive week. Led by the Chamber of Commerce, activities were patterned to appeal to every sector of the community. They included contests for the Queen and her court, a “little […]

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Original Fiesta gown on display

by Louise Coffey-Webb, Costume Committee Chair In celebration of next week’s 49th anniversary of the Fiesta La Ballona, we are displaying an original “Queen’s” gown from the 1951 Fiesta in the Culver City Archives & Resource Center (ARC). This white satin dress with lace-covered bodice and coordinating mantilla was designed and constructed by Rosalie Utterback […]

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Culver Center Street turned back to 1940s

REEL Culver City by Marc Wanamaker MGM Studios used the Culver Center shopping district for the political drama, Ada, starring Dean Martin as gubernatorial candidate “Bo Gillis” and Susan Hayward as his supportive wife, “Ada.” Although the film took place in a small town in the Deep South in the late 1940s (and was loosely […]

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Huell Howser visits the ARC

On July 21st, Huell Howser visited Culver City to film a segment on the Culver Hotel and the ARC. This photo, taken by Mr.  Howser’s cameraman Cameron in front of Gene Kelly’s striped jacket from Take Me Out To the Ball Game, features (from left) City Historian Julie Lugo Cerra, Howser, Immediate Past President Cathy […]

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2010 Annual Picnic Total Success!

Santa Maria Barbeque Grills For The Culver City Historical Society’s Annual Picnic Jim Rodrigues, owner of Culver City’s Santa Maria Barbeque restaurant (9552 Washington Blvd), prepared a genuine Santa Maria style barbeque for this year’s Annual CCHS Picnic which was held at the Vets Park picnic area, on Wednesday evening, July 21st.

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Projects Completed for Summer Visitors to Enjoy

by Winston Gieseke, Vice President, Museum/ARC Things are shaping up nicely this summer at the Archives & Resource Center (ARC). Martha & Sol Sigall have recently completed an extensive project organizing the Society’s collection of MGM production photos. Extra special thanks go to Society member David Pelayo for providing an important piece of this puzzle […]

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