Summer Speaker Series

This event is in the past
June 24 7:00pm – 8:30pm, 2018
Rapp Saloon 1438 Second Street Santa Monica, CA 90401

This summer, the Conservancy is hosting a series of talks about the history of Santa Monica at the landmark Rapp Saloon. Explore the beginnings of the movie industry in Santa Monica in the 1920s, aviation and Douglas aircraft during WWII, and urban planning and the development of boulevards in Los Angeles. Sign up for one or all three in this Sunday evening series. Light refreshments will be served after each lecture.

The cost is $10 per lecture or $25 for the series for members; $15 per lecture or $40 for the series for the public. Register online or mail a check to Santa Monica Conservancy, P.O. Box 653, Santa Monica, CA 90406-0653 with your name, email, address, and the number of tickets for each lecture you’d like to attend.


The Vitagraph Film Company and Rapp Saloon. Photo: Hollywood Photos

June 24: Moguls and Movies of Old Santa Monica

The Vitagraph Film Company was one of the first movie studios in Los Angeles. In the 1920s, Thomas Ince set up shop next to the Rapp Saloon and reinvigorated the Western film genre with his authentic-looking pictures set on an expansive ranch in Santa Ynez Canyon. He used actual props and hired real-life cowboys and Native Americans as extras.

Film historian Marc Wanamaker will recall the fascinating history of filmmaking in the early days of Santa Monica, not only highlighting some of the creative techniques that set the standard for genre movies, but also characterizing some of the movie titans, such as Ince and Carl Laemmle.

Photo: Water and Power Associates

July 22: Douglas Aircraft Impacts Air Travel and Santa Monica

During the first half of the 20th century, Santa Monica Airport was synonymous with Douglas, and by 1929, the company was using it exclusively to test and fly production aircraft, including early airliners and military aircraft. During World War II, Douglas Aircraft became a major defense contractor, employing up to 44,000 workers working three shifts around the clock. This economic engine transformed the city as thousands of new homes were built for Douglas workers, creating Sunset Park and other neighborhoods. The increased production demand for aircraft also resulted in the company’s expansion to 227 acres.

Mike Machat, well-known aviation artist, author, public speaker and historian, will further explore Douglas’ long and influential imprint on Santa Monica.  An artist by training, Machat was hired by McDonnell Douglas as a technical illustrator in 1977, working on a long line of Douglas commercial aircraft.

Photo: Water and Power Associates

August 19: Boulevards to the Sea: An L.A. Story

The wide separation of L.A.’s urban core from the Pacific coast has occasioned more than a century of boulevard building across the coastal plain from downtown to the sea, particularly in Santa Monica.

Author, architect and urban designer Doug Suisman will describe the history of this boulevard linkage, from railroad and streetcar lines to freeways and the new Expo Line. He’ll explore how the boulevards establish the framework for the public realm, and how architecture and urban design play critical roles in place making along the boulevards and in the districts and neighborhoods that line them.