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Notes from Your City Historian

by Julie Lugo Cerra


Look for historic Culver City photos at Trader Joe’s soon. We provided the photos at a nominal charge – another way to sustain our ongoing preservation efforts.


The Society’s second marking of an historic site was the Hull Building at 9543 Culver Boulevard. Built by Dr. Foster Hull in 1925, this Neo-Classical wedge-shaped structure functioned as the first hospital in town. Hull lost the property during the Depression, but Louis Freeman purchased the landmark building which is now owned by the third generation of the family – longtime CCHS member, Stu Freeman.

For those of us with a history in Culver City, we might remember it housing any one of the following businesses: Freeman Furniture, Sunset Drug, Tinger’s Culver City Flowers, Sada’s Flowers, the Bank of Orange County, Riccardo’s, Bella Pasta, or San Gennaro restaurants.

The building has undergone a few changes over the years. When the Bank of Orange County took over, they reinforced it for earthquake safety. The 1994 Northridge quake shook some bricks free, but they were replaced by some saved by Sony from one of their structures.

In January of this year, after learning that a restaurant/bakery would become the new tenant, the Society took a position in favor of restoring the building to its original configuration. That basically means that the corner entry will be restored.

The building’s historical importance was first recognized by the Culver City Historical Society, and after the city adopted our Historic Preservation ordinance in 1991, the structure was given Landmark status, which is the highest category. I think it is important that as an historical society, we appreciate building owners like the Freeman family and their tenants who take a leadership role in historic preservation.


And did you know it is a banner year? Public Art in Culver City has taken many shapes and forms. It is a real positive when we have artwork that also reflects our history.

Take a look at the new banners along Washington Boulevard. This is the first phase of an installation by artist Kyungmi Shin which will help welcome people entering Culver City from the west end. The banners are color-coded to reflect different areas – like Native American History, the Entertainment industry, etc. – and mixed in, are poetic thoughts to make you stop and think. Christine Byers, of the Cultural Affairs Staff, graciously attended our January annual meeting to give us a preview. (For more information, check the city website at www.culvercity.org.)

And The Living History Project is alive and well, with high school students going into third and fourth grade classrooms district-wide in March and April.

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