Summer 2013 ARC Update

by Julie Lugo Cerra, Vice President, Museum/ARC and City Historian


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 developed in the early 1920s by the Strickle McBain Construction Company. If you have any insights or stories about this street, please contact the Society, online or via phone, please.


The Robert Frost Auditorium has held a broad scope of interest since it opened in 1964. In addition

to an architect’s rendering, the Society is preserving a wonderful student project, completed by

members of Culver High’s 1963 Olympian Yearbook staff: a photo journal mounted on display boards of the construction of Robert Frost Auditorium at Culver High.

Spearheaded by Tom Sparks, the yearbook photographer at the time, along with other yearbook staff, like John Yant, Jim Alexander and Bonnie Fishman.


• Do you remember Airport Village? The Hamburger Handout? Stop by the Archives to see an

oversize photo on canvas that will bring back happy memories! Special thanks to Jim Solomon

who arranged for this new acquisition from the Jim Collins family, who were responsible for many of our delicious hamburgers and The Sizzler Restaurants!

• We have two Police Benefit books (1927, 1928) that offer a priceless look into 1920s Culver City history. Special thanks to Bill Barnett and Jody Hall-Esser!


The Historic Preservation Month of May offered many opportunities to focus on the story of Culver City. We appreciated the City Council’s proclamation, the opportunity to present a Historic Preservation program at the May Cultural Affairs Commission, and sharing local history with El Marino Students as we do annually.

We also offered an in-service credit for the Culver City students who will travel to Iksan City, Korea for a student exchange this summer.

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Spring 2013 ARC Update

by Julie Lugo Cerra, Vice President, Museum/ARC and City Historian


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 was our first hospital space, built in the 1920s by former health officer, Dr. Foster Hull. In this postcard, it shows one occupant as Sunset Drug Co.

Do you remember the Wellington brothers, who owned more than one pharmacy in town? Society founding member and Madrina (godmother), Clarita Marquez Young, worked at the fountain in this store.

Down the street a bit further, Lucky Auto Parts is visible, just before the Security Pacific Bank. In those days, stop signs were apparently enough to protect the folks. And parking included lots of angle parking in downtown.

On the right, where Meralta Plaza and Fire Station 1 stand today, note the “Meralta block” which had Standard Floor and Wall on the corner, and the Blaine Walker Building. In those days, you could walk that block and pay your Edison bill, send a telegram at Western Union, stop to see your insurance man, Mayo D. Wright, or visit an attorney named Coombs.

And taking in a movie was possible, too, at the popular Meralta Theatre (which cost 25₵!). The theatre opened in 1922 with the legendary Will Rogers entertaining before the Thomas Ince movie, The Galloping Fish. The only business you can really see in the next block is Mary Evelyn’s Donut shop with the round sign – tasty memories for many!

Harry Culver’s hotel rises above it all, then known as Hotel Culver City. And just beyond, you can barely see the Adams Hotel, now empty as Parcel B. And the railroad tracks are a reminder of the wonderful transportation system at the time (especially the red cars) — that transversed almost the whole of Los Angeles.


Please feel invited to play a part in the sorting and cataloging of great finds like this postcard to oversize photos, maps and lots of interesting documents and three dimensional items. This is the kind of fun that can be had if you come in to the archives – or volunteer to help catalog wonderful pieces of history like this.

We are reviewing the days that the ARC is open to the public due to parking issues. For now, we will remain open the first and third Saturdays, but closed July 20. Please watch for special events and come in to see our rotating exhibits. We will also be a part of walking tours beginning in April.

And just a little historic tidbit: July 22, 2013, marks the 100th Anniversary of Harry H. Culver’s speech to the California Club, outlining his plans for his city – half way between downtown Los Angeles and the ocean. Maybe you can catch it being given again this July!

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Winter 2013 ARC Update

by Julie Lugo Cerra, Vice President, Museum/ARC and City Historian


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 students. Movie studio strikes was the primary subject.

Also, staff from the Ricki Lake Show, which films at the Culver Studios, visited the ARC for background work on their Hallloween show.


Joy Jacobs and I were delighted to show off some early Sister City documents in October for the visiting Mayor of Kaizuka, our sister city in Japan. And we look forward to a special open Saturday on January 12, 2013, to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Culver City Sister City program. Join us from 1-3pm.


The ARC opened on December 8th for a “Meet and Greet” for Ince biographer, Brian Taves, who grew up in the southland, but has been working for the Library of Congress for many years. We were able to give Brian a tour around Culver City, which included a trip to Sony Pictures and The Culver Studios. (Special thanks to both.) Thomas Ince was instrumental in building those studios, both of which are still standing.


It was a real pleasure to take local “Tiger” Cub Scouts for a historic walk around downtown Culver City on Sunday, November 11th. Special thanks to the Culver Hotel for letting us drop in and show off the historic hotel built by our city founder. The boys posed for a photo at the bronze sculpture, “A Moment in Time” in front of the Culver Hotel.


A selection of our oversize movie photos are on permanent loan to the City of Culver City. They are up in time for the December 29 “Made in Culver City” screening, to be held in the Veterans Memorial Auditorium, which honors the City’s 95th Anniversary.

The ARC will open that afternoon from 1-3pm before the screening.


Our cataloging is a slow process but we are making good progress filling the flat files thanks to Bill Barnett.

Our Living History Committee is working with the CCUSD Asst. Supt., Educational Services, Eileen Carroll, to pull together some support for our local schools, like Living History and other options.

Displays in the ARC have been well received, especially the dress from Meet Me in St. Louis and the photos from Margaret O’Brien’s private collection. The invitations, designed by Kevin Lachoff were a nice background for the exhibit.

A new exhibit will be in place for the January annual meeting. Think Harry Culver’s birthday and … just come and see for yourselves!


We are beginning docent training. If you are interested in leading walking tours in the downtown area, or ARC tours, please contact Julie Lugo Cerra, with convenient days and times for practice. (310 558-3818). We need you!

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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 our collection and our volunteers, alike.

This summer, we hosted many visitors, including youngsters from the Parks & Recreation Community Services (PRCS) camp program on August 1. CCHS Board members Jeanne Conklin and Joy Jacobs helped to make them feel welcome, sharing historical information about the Society and the city’s heritage.

A Variety Of Costume & Photo Displays

We have had a lot of foot traffic to see our summer exhibit. The LA84 Olympic display is on loan from founding member Pat Clapp. We even have her uniform from her time at the UCLA’s gymnastics venue where she volunteered.

Costume Chair Sharon Shore’s choice of costumes was very well received, especially the bodysuit worn by Esther Williams in Neptune’s Daughter – and watch for an Esther Williams “presence” at the entry to the plunge.

Look for some great oversize movie photos in the hall in the Veterans Memorial Building. We have been working on this display with Susan Obrow – thanks, Susan!

The Fiesta La Ballona exhibit included a princess dress from the early days of the Fiesta, along with other early items including some great photos, buttons, trophies, and even a young boy’s shirt on loan from Cathy Zermeno.

Display & File Cases Add Structure To Presentations

Organization in small spaces is never easy, but we are really making headway with the presentation of our wonderful collections. Special thanks to Bill Barnett who searched for, found and graciously donated many flat files, which are now numbered and being loaded with many prized items. President Louise has been vigilant finding other display options, including a glass display case. We are getting ready to load our new winged files as well.

Society Videotapes Noted Archeologist Charles Rozaire

At a special ARC event on September 18, we had the opportunity to videotape one of our most noteworthy members, Dr. Charles Rozaire, who grew up in Culver City and attended Culver Grammar School with friends like Virgie (Tinger) Eskridge. Charles, a noted archaeologist and anthropologist, offered keen insight into our early inhabitants from a professional perspective, and especially enjoyed talking about growing up in the city, near prominent city officials such as Mike Tellefson, Bill Douglas and others. Special thanks to all who attended and helped – notably our own photo/video guy Kevin Lachoff. The guest of honor was accompanied by media expert and friend Michael David McGuire, who came in from NY to transport Charles to our picnic and for this interview.

New Culver City Expo Line Station Profiled

Culver City is covered in the summer edition of Metro Motion – for the opening of our Expo Line station. Go to to view the summer edition – you may recognize many familiar faces and local spots.

Archives and Resource Center Plays Various Roles For Community

Prior to the Fiesta, I enjoyed speaking at local service clubs, like the Exchange and Rotary clubs. They loved the photos of “the olden days” and they were good sports with my Fiesta Trivia Quiz. Fiesta weekend, we visited with many delighted and delightful guests. It was great to see the old “Pokey”, refurbished by the Rotarians!

In advance of the city’s 95th Anniversary, legendary Oscar-winning icon, Margaret O’Brien donated a number of her personal photos to our collection. We will be pleased to enjoy them on a special exhibit at the Archives.

A Big “Thank You” To Our Wonderful Volunteers!

The Archives is changing due to the hard work of our volunteers like Sharon Shore, Bill Barnett, Joy Jacobs, Steve Rose, Lydia Spiegelman, Martha Sigall, Cathy Zermeno, Tami Eskridge, Jeanne Conklin, Carol Schwab, Jerry Sallus, Linda Forman, and of course president Louise. Some work out front, and others in the background, but a huge thanks to all!

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Summer 2012 ARC Update

by Julie Lugo Cerra, Vice President, Museum/ARC and City Historian


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 press clippings from this yearlong trip – when he served as head of the National Real Estate Association.

We have also purchased a new display piece – a free-standing swing panel display unit. This will be “loaded” with history very soon! It will be especially helpful for our tours and it will free up some cabinet display space as well.


The Society has kept in “protective custody” many scrapbooks containing the history of the Culver City Parks and Recreation Department (PRCS). These oversize books are going “home” – and into the same building we share! We are delighted that PRCS Director Dan Hernandez has such a keen interest in history, and we know they will be well cared for and enjoyed. Watch for interesting displays soon!


Special thanks to member David Pelayo for assisting with a display to complement our musical program on Broadway Melody for the April 18th General Meeting. It is always a pleasure to host guests after our program meetings, and to offer relevant exhibits is always our goal. (The Arthur Freed and Cole Porter contracts with MGM are spectacular!)

Our next exhibit will be geared towards summertime and the historic Fiesta La Ballona. We will be open from 12:00 noon to 4:00pm on both Saturday and Sunday of the Fiesta (August 25 & 26). Our own Cathy Zermeno will be honored – so try to join us in celebration at the main stage at 11:30am on Fiesta Saturday.


Look for the touches of your Historical Society in the history of Culver City being presented by the Metro Transit System for the opening of the Culver City portion of the EXPO line – what’s old is new again – or should that be more in the line of history repeating itself?!


Last year, numerous contacts pointed us in the direction of the Mann Theatre on Washington Blvd. (just outside the city limits), and to a collection of oversize movie photos. The property owners donated them to the Society and Stu Freeman was able to transition them to our space.

We’ve kept some of the smaller photos for background display in the oak cabinets. As the VMB has been so nicely renovated, what better way to help dress up our home facility than to share with the city?

Look for some fine evidence of Culver City, “the Heart of Screenland,” in black and white soon! We are working with the PRCS staff including Diego Cevallos, Tom Dunham and Susan Obrow, who is now located in the VMB complex.

Also in the area of donations, we have received some very pragmatic things – such as a gift of tools in a box from Bill Barnett. Bill put together the new display rack, and is also very adept with online research! Thank you, Bill.

And thanks to David Starkman, we will be doing a little adaptive reuse of a fine cabinet. For backup support and transportation, Kevin Lachoff was assisted by Marc Naylor. More good space to help organize the collections!

Things are poppin’! With a recommendation of our hardworking Treasurer, Linda Forman, we are hoping to have two new volunteer interns, both of whom have experience with the Getty Museum. I just want to add that we have a fine Museum Committee and I am SO grateful for our Costume Chair, Sharon Shore – thank you all for pulling together!

If you would like to become an ARC volunteer, please call or email the Society.

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