Pacific Military Academy
The Pacific Military Academy (PMA) was situated on a hill just north of Culver City, at Cardiff and Cattaraugus, after a short time in Culver City (c 1925) at 6450 Washington Blvd. Culver City's founder, Harry H. Culver, established PMA in honor of his late father, Gen. J. H. Culver, U.S. Army Volunteers.
In a 1928 publication of the school, it showed H.H. Culver as the president, with Judge Benjamin F. Bledsoe serving as vice president, and Charles E. Lindblade, one of Culver's real estate colleagues, as treasurer. (note all three had streets in Culver City named for them.) The school ideals were listed as "high scholastic standards, physical development, military science and training for purposes of discipline, administration, uniformity and the development of leadership, moral character and training, responsibility of citizenship and Americanism." The publication also suggested that Harry Culver had been brought up with a "reverence for the traditions and customs of the military service."
Pacific Military Academy was a two-story structure designed by a noted architect, Wallace Neff, who also designed the Culver family mansion in Cheviot Hills. The tuition in 1928, was $800 a year for boarding, or $200 for day attendance.
Former student, Mr. Charles Theodore Hill, who attended the Pacific Military Academy as a third and fourth grade cadet in 1939 and 1940, related in an interview that when he attended PMA, there was a junior school, which was the equivalent of elementary school, and the upper classes, which started with seventh grade and continued through high school. There were generally two to a room, and the younger cadets living on the upper floor. Mr. Hill remembered each day beginning with "formation" when the flag was raised after a bugle call. Formation was outdoors, weather permitting, followed by the cadets marching to the mess hall. They ate at round tables, which all had big stainless steel or pewter pitchers of milk. Food was not an issue. There was plenty of it, according to Mr. Hill. After school, there was formation again, and after the lowering of the flag, the cadets marched to the mess hall for their evening meal.
Hill still has an annual, called "The Passing Parade." He was especially glad it had a picture of the fallen radio tower, which he saw blow over, although no one believed him at the time. He remembered the school at the top of a hill, facing south. Behind it, there was a horse riding arena, and a swimming pool. Hill said it was well organized, with a golf team and rifle team as well. It appears that Harry Culver's famous portrait on the horse was taken at PMA, and his daughter, Pat, often rode her horse there.
On Saturday mornings, Mr. Hill said the boys had room inspection, after which they were free. Some went home while others stayed. For weekend recreation, there were buses to "Downtown Culver City, " where some spent their 25 cents a week allowance at the movies. At 10 cents a movie, they could go to the Meralta on Saturday and Sunday, and splurge on a 5-cent candy bar one of the days!
During World War II, the Pacific Military Academy was used for barracks. In an interview last week at a reunion of WWII combat photographers, Robert Elliot confirmed living at the Pacific Military Academy part of the time he was stationed at "Fort Roach," working on training films for the armed services. Elliot arrived in 1943 when PMA no longer appeared to be operating as a military school. He had a corner room which he found adequate and within walking distance of the Hal Roach Studios and Downtown Culver City.
The Pacific Military Academy structure no longer exists. The property was subdivided for residential development. By 1949, it was not listed in the local telephone directory.