Iconic Neighborhood Restaurants: Culver City
Nebraska-born entrepreneur Harry Culver started working on his plan for Culver City in 1913. Before he got his hands on the land, it was no more than acres of barley fields at the foot of Baldwin Hills, but by 1917 Culver City was incorporated as part of L.A. County.
Harry Culver was the consummate businessman, always seeking out new ways to improve on his ever-growing city. After happening on a film shoot in the mid-1910s, he immediately saw an opportunity and began seeking film executives and producers to come and set up their studios in Culver City. He got his wish in 1915 when Thomas Ince built his Triangle Studios on what is now Washington Boulevard. Just a few years later, Hal Roach built his silent film production company down the street.
In 1918, Ince sold Triangle Studios to Samuel Goldwyn, who would go on to convert the land into the now-defunct Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Studios. Over the next five decades, the MGM Studios were a breeding ground for some of the most iconic films in American history, including “Ben-Hur” and the first Technicolor musical, “The Wizard Of Oz.” During these years, Culver City became known as the “heart of Screenland,” but as it is all good things must come to an end and the MGM Studios shut their doors in the 1970s.
After remaining essentially empty for over fifteen years, the MGM Studios were bought up by Sony in 1990. It became the home of Columbia Pictures and eventually the Sony Pictures Studios. It was around this same time that the city decided to take action in revitalizing the downtown area of Culver City, which had seen a downturn over the last twenty-odd years. New development and improved infrastructure paved the way for thriving businesses and young, affluent residents.
Today, Culver City is a booming modern metropolis. Washington Boulevard is lined with upscale restaurants and bars, frequented by the growing number of employees at nearby Sony Pictures Studios. But take some time to explore and you will find that there are decades of history in the surviving restaurants and bars of Culver City.