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In 1910, Nebraska native and real estate entrepreneur Harry H. Culver saw the mostly rural land between a growing downtown Los Angeles and the seaside resort of Venice as a strategic place for development. Thus, Culver City was born at the nexus of three major Red Car lines: the Venice Short Line, the Del Rey Line, and the Santa Monica Air Line. Major thoroughfares Venice, Washington, and Culver Boulevards converged nearby as well, and Harry Culver marketed the new city with the tagline “All roads lead to Culver City.” The city outgrew its original boundaries by its first anniversary, and attracted new residents, businesses, and even a Pacific Electric depot. Its proximity to transportation brought the film industry to Culver City, and in return, the industry brought fame to the city.
The official motto of Culver City, “The Heart of Screenland” is, for many, what still springs to mind when they think of this five-square-mile city in the southwest of L.A. County. Film production played a dominant part of Culver City’s history: in 1915, just before Culver City’s incorporation, Thomas H. Ince built the city’s first film studio. Hal Roach created his self-named studio a year later, and Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) followed suit shortly after. In the ensuing decades, hundreds of films were shot on the streets of Culver City, giving it, at times, the odd familiarity of a movie set. Today, the city nods to its fascinating history through film-themed city signage and public art. Despite losing many of its film studios between the 1960s and 1980s, Culver City’s motto once again rings true. Today, Amazon is in the process of moving into The Culver Studios lot, and HBO and Apple will house their content-creating hubs in Culver City. The city comes full circle, serving as home to the entertainment industry of today: online streaming. Nestled within today’s Culver City is an eclectic mix of beloved historic buildings, reminders of a storied past in both film and transportation.
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Credits: Architect(s) and Year Constructed; 1930, E.L. Bruner, 1929, Orville L. Clark, 1924, Curlett & Beelman, 1995, Gonzalez Goodale Architects, 1947, Albert R. Walker & Carl G. Moeller, 1946,1952, Lawerence Joseph, 1949, Architect Unknown, 1964, Flewelling & Moody,, 2010, Eric Owen Moss Architects, Photos Courtesy of; Mike Hume, Eric Owen Moss Architects