Collecting, preserving and exhibiting the history of Culver City and its cultural and civic accomplishments


Author and Cinematographer to Discuss MGM Backlots at Next Culver City Historical Society Meeting

M-G-M Hollywood’s Greatest Backlot by Stephen Sylvester - Culver City Historical SocietyStephen Sylvester, co-author of M-G-M Hollywood’s Greatest Backlot, and Academy award winning cinematographer Fred Koenekamp will share the spotlight at the next general meeting of Culver City Historical Society on Wednesday, April 16, 2014, at 7 p.m. in the Veterans Memorial Building’s multi-purpose room.

Sylvester will present a short film and a PowerPoint presentation illustrating the history of the soundstages and outdoor sets where Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer produced many of the world’s most famous films. The book features candid, exclusive voices and photographs from the people who worked there, and includes hundreds of rare and unpublished photographs.  A signed copy of the book will be given away by drawing and all attendees will have a chance to win. You can also order his book through this link and bring it with you, and he’ll sign it after the presentation.

Koenekamp, known for his camera work on Patton, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Papillion, and The Towering Inferno, for which he won his Academy award, and many other fine films, will also share his memories of the MGM years.

There will be a brief discussion of upcoming programs and projects, as well as updates on the activities and exhibits in the Archives & Resource Center (ARC) which will be opened following the meeting.

All members of the Culver City Historical Society and the public are welcome to enjoy this free program and students are encouraged to attend.  The entrance to the multi-purpose room is through the back of the building near the parking lot, and through the Archive & Resource Center space.

Event: Installation of Officers, January 15, 2014

Michelle Bernardin

Michelle Bernardin

You are cordially invited to attend the Culver City Historical Society’s Installation honoring the Society’s 13th president, Michelle Bernardin, and officers for 2014-2016 in the Sony Pictures Plaza (SPP) Atrium Museum.

The event will take place on Wednesday evening, January 15, 2014 from 6:30-8:30 pm. The 2014-2016 officers will be:

Michelle Bernardin, President
Tami Eskridge, VP, Development
Julie Lugo Cerra, VP, Museum
Hope Parrish and Dennis Parrish, VP Programs
Adrienne Bernardin, Secretary
Linda Forman, Treasurer

City Manager John Nachbar will act as the installing officer. Reservations are a must, so please download and complete the form found here, and your tickets will be held at the door. Parking will be provided onsite at no charge. Read the rest of this page »

Julie Lugo Cerra to Lead Genealogy Garage Workshop

genealogy-garageFrom the Genealogy Garage press release:

If you are not acquainted with the historical society in your family’s hometown, then you are missing out on some valuable information—especially since all towns are proud of their heritage. Some societies have a museum, photograph files, a database, and are repositories for the town’s oldest records. Others are a website with historical information and lists of cemeteries, churches, etc. All are maintained by members of the community whose goal it is to preserve their town’s history and they are often thrilled to answer your questions.

Your workshop leader will be Julie Lugo Cerra, who is a 6th generation Californian, and a descendant of Francisco Salvador Lugo. Julie, a native of Culver City, where her father was born on the Lugo Ranch Read the rest of this page »

“The Kirk Douglas Theatre and its Metamorphosis” – Program for Next Culver City Historical Society Meeting

Eric Sims, Operations Manager of the Kirk Douglas Theatre

Eric Sims, Operations Manager of the Kirk Douglas Theatre

Eric Sims, Operations Manager of the Kirk Douglas Theatre and President of the Culver City Downtown Business Association will be the featured speaker at the Culver City Historical Society’s general meeting on Wednesday, October 16, 2013, at 7 p.m. in the Veterans Memorial Building’s Multi-Purpose Room, 4117 Overland Avenue, Culver City, 90230.

Sims, who is closely involved with the development and programs of the Kirk Douglas Theatre, will describe its metamorphosis from the former Culver Theater, a motion picture house, into today’s beautiful and intimate venue for experimental theatrical productions. He will explain how the theatre was transformed and describe the planning Read the rest of this page »

New Public Hours for The Society’s Archives and Resource Center

the entrance to the ARC

the entrance to the ARC

The Culver City Historical Society has changed the days of operation of its Archives and Resource Center (ARC), located behind the Veterans Memorial Building at 4117 Overland Avenue in Culver City, from the first and third Saturday of each month to the first and third Sunday of each month, from 1:00 t0 3:00 p.m, or by appointment.

This change goes into effect Sunday, September 1, 2013.

According to Society President Michelle Bernardin, the change of days has been made to give visitors easier access to the ARC and more parking in the surrounding lots. “Sunday is a day when families are looking for places to visit and the ARC offers wonderful displays of  Read the rest of this page »

Culver City Historical Society Events During the Fiesta La Ballona 2013

A Fiesta La Ballona parade from the 1950s

A Fiesta La Ballona parade from the 1950s

Costume Competition

The Culver City Historical Society is sponsoring a Costume Contest during the Fiesta La Ballona to commemorate Culver City’s early California heritage. The competition, which will be held on Sunday, August 25, 2013, at 10:30 a.m. near the staging area in Veterans Park, encourages contestants to dress as Native Americans, Spanish colonials, rancheros, or pioneers. Costumes will be judged on authenticity, creativity, and representation of the period, and winners in all divisions will be awarded prizes.

The competition categories include: Read the rest of this page »

Society to Celebrate 100th Anniversary of Harry Culver’s Dream Speech


On July 22, 1913, Harry H. Culver, then a young real estate developer, made an important announcement at the original California Club in Downtown, Los Angeles.

He presented his vision for a new city before directors, stockholders, and friends of the newly formed Culver Investment Company with such enthusiasm that the enthralled group named it “Culver City” by acclamation. Read the rest of this page »

Annual Picnic and Gathering 7/17/2013

Santa Maria BBQThe Culver City Historical Society invites its members and the community to its annual picnic at Veterans Park on Wednesday, July 17, 2013. Festivities will begin at 5:30 p.m. with soft drinks and conversation in the picnic area. Dinner will be served from 6:30 -7:30 p.m.

Bring your appetites and come watch Jim Rodrigues from Santa Maria BBQ do his magic catering at the barbecue on-site. Choice Grade tri-tips and plump Grade A chickens will go on the grill at 5:00 p.m. Dinner also will include tasty chili beans, potato salad, green salad, garlic bread, Santa Maria’s special barbecue sauce, homemade-cookies, and soft drinks.

Enjoy this mid-summer night of fun and be serenaded by the famous local Razzmatazz Dixieland ensemble playing festive barbecue music.

Read the rest of this page »

Michelle Bernardin New Culver City Historical Society President

Michelle Bernardin

Michelle Bernardin

Culver City native Michelle Bernardin has been named president of the Culver City Historical Society upon the resignation of former president Louise Coffey-Webb.

Bernardin’s roots in Culver City go back to her father, Roger, whose family moved from Santa Monica to the west side of Culver City in 1956. She attended St. Augustine’s School and then followed her dad’s steps to Culver City High School. She is a Bruin, studied art history at UCLA, and continued her graduate work in art history and museum studies at Tufts University in Massachusetts.

She has been at Loyola Marymount University for the last three years as Associate Director of Development of Women and Philanthropy, and the program director of the LMU Women’s Leadership Council. Prior to that, she spent ten years at the Museum of Contemporary Art, managing the museum’s two volunteer support councils and the internal logistics for the annual fundraising events.

For the past three years, she has been a member of Cultural Affairs Commission for the City of Culver City.

She is an avid foodie, enjoys baking in the kitchen, and loves sharing the exploits of both on social media.

Historic Sites / Buildings in Culver City

by Julie Lugo Cerra, City Historian

When the Culver City Historical Society was incorporated in 1980, under founding president Cathy Zermeno, the Society began a program of marking historic sites, the first one being the site of the 1928 City Hall. To qualify, sites must be at least 50 years old with historic significance.

Our first marking, the site of the 1928 City Hall, took place in 1981, ten years prior to the adoption of our city’s Historic Preservation Ordinance. Charles Lugo was the first Historic Sites Chair. The markers are traditionally bronze plaques, some mounted in concrete, some Read the rest of this page »

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