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Culver City Historic Structures List

Notes from your City Historian
by Julie Lugo Cerra

In the course of my research, I find that some additions to the list of historic structures in Culver City might be appropriate, and there is provision in the code for such action. First, let me say that at least we have a list!

Culver City, to its credit, contracted with 30th Street Architects to complete a survey of Culver City’s historic structures in the 1980s. (Not all cities have surveyed their structures – even Los Angeles does not yet have a list.)

The most intense detail was recorded on the existing studios, probably because of the early acknowledgement of the historic importance of the studios along with their cooperation/records. We are, after all, “The Heart of Screenland” and our city founder, Harry Culver, nurtured a sound economic base, which included the movie studios.

The Historic Preservation Advisory Committee (HPAC), city staff and the council at the time, studied the historic buildings. The process took the best examples of historic structures to the council for final approval. The intention was clearly to preserve, reasonably, our cultural resources.

By the time the HPAC brought the historic survey and final document to the council for approval in 1991, it definitely acted to preserve, but not adversely constrain residents or impede commerce. Only exteriors were protected. “Balance,” Harry Culver’s mantra, was still key. That appears to be why the Significant Residential units were removed, for example.

However, 30th Street Architects, who were not familiar with the local area, coupled with our strange boundaries, might have missed a few structures on city streets. The building we visited for our 25th Anniversary celebration on Washington Boulevard could be a candidate in my opinion.

Built in 1927 – and there are records in the city to validate that date – it was overlooked for some reason. It relates back to early Culver City when our reputation for nightclubs, gambling, entertainment and bootleg spirits were a sign of the times.

Today it has come full circle. Known in the ‘50s as “the Nameless Café,” today it is the wonderful “Con Sabor – Club Tropical” – the subject of media coverage with its stellar jazz, flamenco dancing and other musical delights along with a mighty fine menu!

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