Fall 2022 Message

President Hope ParrishGreetings Members, Friends, Volunteers and Associates,

I hope all of you have had the great summer, that our Society has had! We are thrilled that our open Sundays are again busy. It has been wonderful visiting with our friends and members, who just popped by to say Hi and see what’s new. We also met a host of first-time visitors, many becoming new members. I would like to welcome and thank you all. This is exciting for our entire team!

This summer we also received from you many new donations to add to the Society’s Collection. Our growth as a resource center depends not just on your financial donations but items you have collected about Culver City and its past. We received, photos, yearbooks, movie props, and items from personal collections that are enriching our collection. We thank you.

This summer also brought some sadness. On July 3rd, our dear friend and past President Louise Coffey-Webb passed away from natural causes. Her sudden death was a huge blow to me and our Society. Louise (Loulou) volunteered with our Society for many years, bringing so much knowledge to our museum committees on proper preservation and handling of our costume collection and all items we are in trusted with. Six years ago, Louise began her work with Culver City’s Cultural Affairs division headed by Christine Byers. During this time Louise’s focus was on our City’s Public Art Program and Historic Preservation. She also created the “The Little Red Book,” which takes you on a personal walking tour through downtown, discussing Art in Public Places and our historic buildings.

Louise was an amazing woman who seemed to be everywhere and knew everyone. She was a huge advocate for our community and the Culver City Historical Society. She will be truly missed.

Best wishes to you all.

~ Hope

Summer 2022 Message

Hello Members, Friends, and Neighbors,

As we enter summer, lots has been going on! In May, the Historical Society accepted a proclamation from the City of Culver City, recognizing Historic Preservation Month and the work we continue to do in our community. We co-hosted our second event with Jim Shanman and the Culver City Walk ‘n Rollers, this time on bicycles, learning our local historic sites with fantastic docents at each stop. Thanks to Denice Renteria for liaising the collaboration! We also continue our work inside the museum – entering data, changing up exhibits, and collecting donations from our community and friends for items to preserve in the collection.

Did you know that your Culver City Historical Society is now 42 years old? Early on, we moved our young collection around to several temporary spots around our city, looking for a place to grow. Fast forward to the September 25, 2006, City Council Meeting and Item A-2, wherein the Culver City Historical Society entered into a long-term agreement with the City for our current space in the Veteran’s Memorial Complex. So, happy Sweet Sixteen!

As we all know, technology has sped up and changed over 40 years (hello, dial-up?). We express our deep gratitude to the City of Culver City and Veteran’s Memorial Complex staff for helping us solve our internet issues. This has been a challenge for many years and we appreciate the high speed wi-fi!

I am excited that VP of Programs Clare Denk is taking our July General Program “on the road,” and hope many of you will join us for the Saturday evening, July 23 magical tour of the Hobbit Houses.

We have so many opportunities for involvement! If you find time on your hands, reach out and join us on this road of preserving our city’s history – 40+ years and counting!

Best wishes and thanks to you all,

Hope

Red Devil Memories

`As far back as I can remember, July 4 in Culver City was like a Norman Rockwell painting. The streets were lined with patriotic colors, American flags hung proudly from every home, and mouthwatering BBQ smells filled the air.

Every year my sisters and I could not wait for Dad to drive us to the Studio Village fireworks stand to buy our “Safe and Sane” Red Devil “Family Assortment” box filled with pyrotechnic joy. At dusk we would start with sparklers, snakes, and Smoky Joe’s Cabin. When it got dark, our driveway became a fireworks extravaganza.

In the early 1960’s, the Culver City Exchange Club and Culver City Veteran’s Organization (American Legion) collaborated, operating Culver City’s nine “Safe and Sane” fireworks stands around the city. Stand sales funded our “Independence Day Fireworks Show” at Helms Field, now Jerry Chabola Field.

Braddock and neighboring streets were filled with excited families, walking to Culver City High School, waving flags and riding decorated bikes. Young kids were pulled in wagons to enjoy a picnic, snack bar treats, music, and the best overhead fireworks in the city.

LA City and parts of LA County had now banned fireworks sales, putting pressure on their neighbor, Culver City. In 1986, our City Council voted 3-2 to ban the sale of fireworks for good. Without the sales from the stands, how would the Independence Day Fireworks Show continue? Collaboration with the City of Culver City, local sponsors, and a nominal suggested admission fee kept the show going for almost 15 more years.

This small event with complimentary admission began with about 500 spectators and grew to a tradition with over 10,000 attendees by the last show on July 4, 2012.

One of the main reasons for the show’s cancellation was the installation of artificial turf on Helms Field for student-athletes, and the subsequent concerns with fire. When that door closed, a window opened in the form of West Los Angeles College President James Limbaugh, Ph.D., also a member of the Exchange Club, who brokered a partnership with the club. The show resumes this year, on Sunday, July 3, literally lighting up the night’s sky after two dark pandemic years.

Spring 2022 Message



Hello Members, Friends, and Neighbors,

As we spring forward and turn another corner with Covid, it is my hope that 2022 brings us more opportunities to be in-person again. Over the last two years, our community has faced many challenges, but hopefully we are moving toward the other side.

We continue our growth with new members, donations, and volunteers! I am so pleased to announce we have a new Costumes Chair, Valerie Meyer! Valerie, a fellow Culver City High School grad, recently retired, having worked as a home economics teacher for many years, and Secretary Mara suggested she could be perfect. Without hesitation, Valerie said YES! Under former chair Denice Renteria’s guidance, Valerie and our intern Madisen Matsuura jumped in and began the process of changing out our costume display on view (see photo on page 3).

Donations come in many fashions. Our former Society President Stu Freeman recently donated in the memory of his lovely sister, Sandra. We would also like to thank Karim Sahli and Meghan Sahli-Wells for their generous gift this year. Steve Auer, our friend and former lot manager at Culver Studios, retired and donated a 16mm print of Thomas Ince’s tour of the Studios in 1921.

After recently celebrating the centennial of the Culver City Chamber of Commerce, we learned our friend and colleague Chamber President Colin Diaz announced that he and his family are moving to Arizona. We thank Colin for his support of the Society’s work and send best wishes on his new journey.

I would also like to thank Jim Shanman of the Culver City Walk & Rollers, Mark Lipman of Vagabond Books, Justin Jampol of the Wende Museum, and the Culver City Education Foundation for including us in their recent events.

Our Open Sundays have been bustling with energy! If you also find your Sunday afternoon is open, please stop by and join us!

Best wishes and thanks to you all,

Hope

Winter 2022 Message

Hello Members, Friends, and Neighbors,

Here we are, December 2021, saying goodbye to another year! For me, 2021 in comparison to 2020 was so much better and I hope we continue on this path.

2021 was productive for your Historical Society. We are thrilled to have Madisen Matsuura join our Culver City High School internship program. Abigail Cregor and Madisen have been researching and updating exhibits, giving history a fresh look through the eyes of our local youth.

Mark Morris has done it again; he fixed our internet problem! We have gone from slow, a step above dial-up, to a much faster internet service. This upgrade has made researching for all of us fun again! Thank you, Mark and Ken

We reopened to the public with enormous success! We had the Culver City High School class of 1971 reunion as guests, spending time and sharing stories. We also successfully collaborated with Jim Shanman and the Culver City Walk and Rollers, hosting a walking tour of downtown.

October brought back our first in-person program in the beautifully updated Rotunda Room. Marc Wannamaker shared his new book, Hollywood’s Trains & Trolleys. If you missed the program, we are selling his book at the museum, and the program is on our YouTube channel.

Our Museum Committee continues to go through boxes of donated items. A reminder for those who may have free time and love digging into the past, become a volunteer and join us.

In closing, I want to thank all of you, and especially our volunteers, for the dedication and support that you give to our Culver City Historical Society. We are so grateful for the growth that we have had and it’s all because of you!

I want to wish each of you a joyful holiday season and a bright and happy 2022!

Hope