A Special Message from the Society’s First President

Cathy Zermeno - Culver City Historical Societyby 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 us in forming the Society.  There had been some earlier attempts with no success.

However, in 1979, Frank McCann, an active community member, called on me and a small group of like-minded folks to help create an Historical Society that would celebrate and collect our city’s rich and varied history in an organized form for the present and future generations alike. Our first meeting was held at the home of John and Mildred Kearney [John retired as chief of CC Fire Dept.].

Sadly, Frank became very ill and asked me to continue this work. Though Frank passed away, the energy grew, and, with others, including Lupe Smith, Julie Lugo Cerra, Clarita Young, John and Mildred Kearney, Charlie Lugo, Rusty Kostick, Marti Diviak, Dale Jones, Paul Jacobs, Esther Tarn and Syd Kronenthal, we established the “Culver City Historical Society” in 1980.

There are so many people who have contributed so much throughout the years, that I thought it might be appropriate to see how the Society has grown into the solid organization it is by profiling one of our current Board members as examples of what a variety of wonderful folks who have worked together for the past 30+ years.

I had the privilege of becoming the CCHS President once again in 2006 and was most fortunate to have found our current Costumes Chair, Louise Coffee-Webb, who has had a wealth of experience with costumes and preservation. This position was especially dear to me as I had worked on the costumes that had been rescued from the 1970’s MGM auction by the city, but left with the Society for safe-keeping.

Over the years, not only have these wonderful memories of cinema history been preserved, but now, with the ARC’s presentation area, they can again be seen and enjoyed by new generations. We now have the means and the dedicated volunteers to keep them in excellent condition, and change out the displays throughout the year. We certainly have come a long way since they were “temporarily” housed in the Vets tower!

Louise is but one example of so many outstanding and dedicated volunteers who have not only kept the Society going for over three decades, but who have helped to make it a widely respected and valued organization to the public.

As we begin our thirty-first year, my sincerest thanks go out to everyone who has cared about the CC Historical Society over the years and continue the work now and into the future.

I send my deepest wishes for a wonderful and productive 2011 – “HAPPY NEW YEAR” to all!

Winter 2008 Message

by Cathy Zermeno

The past two years have gone by so very fast! We have had so many wonderful things happen and I’m very proud of our accomplishments.

First and foremost, we now have our Archive Research Center (ARC). I was privileged to sign a 5-year lease with the City of Culver City last January, 2007. This was a dream that we’ve all had since the beginning and now we have a place to call home for all of our wonderful memorabilia. Twice a week we meet to catalog and organize our collections, and our terrific Costume Chair, Louise Coffey-Webb, has indexed the MGM costumes.

Thanks to everyone on the CCHS Board and our great Chairmen – they all did an outstanding job. I thank the entire membership because without you we would not have an Historical Society. And to our guiding light, Julie Lugo Cerra, who has provided so much special help and really knows how to get things done! I also want to thank our newsletter editor, Judy Stangler, for the beautiful quarterly newsletters which have been much praised by our sister historical societies – she really puts energy into getting it looking as good as it does. We all should be proud of everyone who has worked so hard to put on the Society’s public face.

Now, it is my pleasure to turn over the leadership to the newly-elected President, Stuart Freeman. He is especially qualified as Stu and his family have been very much a part of Culver City since the 1920s! Stu is the owner of the historical Hull Building in downtown Culver City. His father was the former owner, having had a furniture store there for many years after acquiring it from the original owner, Dr. Foster Hull. The Sunset Drug store was also located in the Hull Building and was a special gathering place where Culver City people would meet. Our Society’s Madrina (godmother), Clarita Marquez Young, even worked at the soda fountain! Currently a new restaurant and bakery, AKASHA, will occupy the historic site.

I have so enjoyed the past two years as your president – as I did as your first CCHS President in 1980. All of your support has been very special to me and I thank you all!

Cathy Zermeno

Fall 2007 Message

by Cathy Zermeno

The Grand Opening of the Culver City Historical Society’s “ARC” – Archive & Research Center – was held during this year’s Fiesta La Ballona weekend on August 25 & 26. It was a huge success – lots of old and new friends came by to wish us well at our permanent home in the Veterans Memorial Building complex.

On display were several items relating to the Fiestas of years gone by -– a sample of what our Fiesta collection contains. Costumes Chair Louise Coffey-Webb selected a Fiesta Queen’s costume, circa 1951, which was fitted on a mannequin that looked beautiful. The workmanship of those days was unbelievable!

Robin Turner, Museum VP, and her committee did a fantastic job displaying our collection of Fiesta memorabilia. We have so many interested items, and most all of them have been donated to us. It was a great eye-opener for our guests to get a glimpse of what wonderful things will be displayed in the future.

Culver City’s 90th Anniversary was a fantastic success! The community came out to the historic Culver Hotel — for which we have General Manager Doug Newton to thank – and a good time was had by all. Special thanks also to our own Julie Lugo Cerra and her committee who did a great job of organizing the gala party!

With my term as your President coming to an end, I want you all to know that I’ve enjoyed every minute of my second term. This has been a very memorable two years. As the Society’s first president, when a permanent home was still a dream in 1980, I am thrilled to see that dream come true and I thank everyone who has supported us throughout these years.

I hope to see you all at the October 17th General Meeting – this is a very important business meeting: the Election of the CC Historical Society’s Officers.

Summer 2007 Message

by Cathy Zermeno

It’s “Picnic Time” again! Time to get together with longtime friends as well as welcome new ones to the Society’s annual picnic.

And this year we have something very special to share – the opening of the “Culver City Historical Society Archives & Resource Center” (ARC). During the picnic, we will open our doors for brief tours so that you may see what all the hard work so far has accomplished. Also, we encourage your suggestions as to what you think should be displayed and included in ARC. We still have a ways to go ….. but it’s lookin’ good!

Hope you have a chance to stop by the City Council Chambers to see the wonderful photo portraits of former City officials that the Society has put on display for present and future generations to enjoy and appreciate. We give very special thanks to CCHS Government Liaison Julie Lugo Cerra who worked so hard to coordinate this permanent display for the city. And our many thanks to former CAO Dale Jones and Sam Cerra and Steve Newton who helped to save and protect these treasures for the many years leading up to this exhibit.

I want to express the thanks of the whole Society to Martha Sigall who has just turned 90-years-young, and who has accepted the position of Vice President, Ways & Means. We’re truly grateful to our longtime member who has agreed to fill this vacancy.

And a reminder that September 20, 2007 marks Culver City’s 90th Birthday! While some keynote activities have been planned (see page one), many ideas for the celebration are still being reviewed. You’ll be hearing more about this very important city milestone at the picnic and we welcome your thoughts as well.

So many exciting things are happening now that it is a terrific time to be a member of the Culver City Historical Society – and we encourage our members to spread the word and bring in new folks to enjoy the special heritage of our wonderful community.

Spring 2007 Message

by Cathy Zermeno

By the time you receive this newsletter, we will have moved into our new Archives and Resource Center (ARC). It only took 26 years, but we did it!

A hearty thanks to Julie Lugo Cerra – the Society’s Governmental Relations Representative, a past Society President and Culver City’s “City Historian” – whose dedication and perseverance helped to keep us all going and led to this notable day!

And grateful thanks also to Robin Turner, the Society’s 2nd Vice President (Museum), and her fabulous committee chairs: Stan Abrams and Sam Cerra. They and their fellow CCHS members have worked long and hard to bring this dream to fruition. Sam took care of obtaining the proper permits while Stan began designing the space to make full use of the entire area. The ARC has been prepared and our memorabilia and wonderful historic treasures have been moved from storage to this new display and research area.

The MGM costumes are now in our care, and their condition will be evaluated with a full report to follow. We are getting everything organized and, in a few short months, we will be ready for business!

With sincere regrets, I have accepted the resignation of Susan Deen, 3rd Vice President (Ways & Means), who has given years of service on our Board of Directors. While we know she will still be an active member, we wish her the best of everything as she devotes more time to her own work and family. The term of this position will end on December 31, 2007, and if any member has an interest in filling it til then, please contact me.

I look forward to seeing you all at our April 18th General Meeting. It’s especially important as the revised Society By-Laws will be reviewed and voted on. What wonderful things are ahead for the community and the Culver City Historical Society!

Cathy Zermeno