In 1913 a young Nebraskan, Harry H. Culver, announced his plans for a city at the California Club in Los Angeles. Culver’s yearlong study pointed to this area as prime location—it was halfway between Los Angeles and Abbot Kinney’s resort of Venice. The open land traversed by Native Americans, then transformed into ranchos, offered a mild climate, and open space begging for development. The railroad and beginning of a street system in place prompted Culver’s early ads to read “All Roads Lead to Culver City.”


Mr. Culver’s goal was a balanced community. After watching Thomas Ince filming a movie on Ballona Creek, his interest in the emerging movie industry moved him to find land for the first of the city’s three major movie studios. In the meantime, Culver drew business people and residents to this area. Culver used kleig lights, events like marathons, “free bus rides” to a picnic in the new city and much more . Main Street became ripe with small businesses. This was all part of his plan for the city’s economic base.


Harry Culver’s dream city began as 1.2 square miles centered around its little Main Street, which was filed in 1913. In time and a series of 40 annexations, the city grew into nearly 5 square miles. Culver City developed into a charter city with its own city government, police and fire departments, parks, school district and commerce to support it. Industry has transitioned from a Western Stove factory to a Hayden Industrial Tract, and utilized redevelopment beginning in 1971, and a culture that supports new technologies and the arts. Approaching this 100-­‐year mark the city will enjoy the opportunity to celebrate the rich history of its first 100 years, which turned it into an oasis within the urban metropolis.

Julie Lugo Cerra, city historian, 2014