Looking Back: A ‘sign’ that marks downtown Culver City history


Many remember a sign in downtown Culver City that showed off the “community-active” side of Culver City. It was located at the “Culver-Washington X” on the narrow, (west), side of the Culver Hotel. The signpost listed the service clubs along with their insignias. In looking for a picture of said sign, I found this 1959 photo of Culver City, taken from Washington Boulevard, looking west.

This photo also offers a record of 1950s signage and street décor. Note the vintage  street lights and mailboxes. There was also a crosswalk on Washington, where the fellow on the left is beginning to make his way across the street. Many recall a tunnel under the street in this area. It was a pedestrian walkway for the safety of the public.

Just to clarify, it was not used to transport the “munchkins” from the Culver Hotel and the Adams Hotel, where many them stayed during the filming of The Wizard of Oz, to the closest studio. That classic movie was filmed in 1938 down the street at Metro-Goldwyn Mayer Studios, (now Sony Pictures Studios), while another classic movie, Gone With The Wind, was made at the nearby Selznick Studios, (now The Culver Studios).

Culver City’s little downtown offered many shops and services. Van Dusen’s Pharmacy occupied a space at the building on the left, and Irv’s Richfield Station is just across Van Buren Place, where the Bowling Alley sign is visible above the municipal bus.

Note the holiday décor  stretched across the street. The lighted tower of the Culver (now Kirk Douglas) theatre is apparent in the distance. Billboards were plentiful, and at right, the large historic Hull Building is pictured as Freeman Furniture. Dr. Foster Hull built that structure as part of the first hospital complex. The Freeman family became the owner in the mid-1930s, of that historic structure which now houses the well-known “Akasha” restaurant.

Looking Back: A ‘sign’ that marks downtown Culver City history