Searching History: Digital Newspapers

Alex King, a noted researcher/genealogist, led one of our “Conversation” series in the Archives and Resource Center - Culver City Historical SocietyOn Sunday, July 5, Society member Alex King, a noted researcher/genealogist, led one of our “Conversation” series in the Archives and Resource Center. Alex showcased resources like the University of California, Riverside digital library, from which he shared 1800’s era articles that offer insight into La Ballona School’s operation in 1875, and political meetings hosted by Jose de la Luz Machado.

Following are several links he suggested for online archives of digital newspaper images. Some are free, others have a fee to see the images. All are searchable.

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.

Research Demands Accuracy

Julie Lugo Cerra - Culver City Historical SocietyNotes from Your City Historian
by Julie Lugo Cerra

There are so many avenues to travel while gathering information. Accuracy is paramount, but not so easy to achieve. This is why we use multiple sources of information. In earlier times, we had publications, public records — and people. Library visits were made in person…

When Memories Differ…

One of my first jobs in the Society was to write a tour of the city. I began my research in printed material, plotted points, and then went on to interviews.

One day, I remember taking two lovely ladies — grand dames of Culver City — on a ride to “pick their brains.” Both were living in Culver City in the 1920s, so they offered a wealth of colorful information. But when we got to a particular block in downtown, their memories of a dairy were just a little “off” and I was ever so grateful one was seated in the front seat and the other in the back seat. These mild-mannered octogenarians almost came to blows! In the long run their invaluable memories pointed my search to old directories which pinpointed that dairy!

Microfilm Still Valuable! - Culver City Historical SocietyMicrofilm Still Valuable!
Our ARC Saturdays (and by appointment) provide some great fun for researchers. The bound copies of the Evening Star News, for example, promote “life and times” discussions about “the olden days.”

While researching one issue, you can almost count on finding the answer to another question. In addition, we have additional newspapers on microfilm, but our reader has been a little temperamental. As you can see in this photo, CCHS President Stu Freeman (L) made adjustments that brought viewing “into focus.” Bill Hahn recently used the catalogued microfilm to supplement his bound newspaper searches.

Many New Research Sources
Most people trusted the printed word. The Los Angeles Times used to have fact checkers, and in the past, I received calls to double-check information in an upcoming article mentioning Culver City. It appears that fact checkers were victims of budget cuts, and you can see evidence of the errors that appear as corrections — daily.

Unfortunately, most researchers will not automatically check the next edition to make sure their subject was not erroneously reported.

The internet is a valuable source of information, but one has to pause and check. Some information is accessible from libraries, but there are other sources of information, like Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, which includes unsubstantiated information presented like it was researched. It has a lot of erroneous information on Culver City, including the dates movie studios were established. IMDb is the international movie database which also allows people to add to their information, and it reminds me of those ladies and the dairy location — lots of discrepancies…so be careful!