Three-Minute Histories

The Santa Monica Conservancy is working in partnership with the Santa Monica History Museum to produce episodes in a new series called Santa Monica Three-Minute Histories. These short videos on a variety of local history topics are being aired at Santa Monica City Council meetings throughout 2024. Each episode features new facts on familiar topics in Santa Monica history, told by a unique narrator active in the community.

St. Anne’s Church
Aired: June 11, 2024
Location: 2011 Colorado Avenue
Narrated by: Michael Valenzuela 

Saint Anne’s Catholic Church is a significant landmark in the Pico neighborhood of Santa Monica. The church was founded in 1908 by Father Patrick Hawe. Over the years, it has become more than just a house of worship. The grounds also contain a school, a pavilion, and a Catholic community center.

The Brick Yards
Aired: May  28, 2024
Location: Olympic from Cloverfield to Centinela
Narrated by: Hank Koenig

The Brick Yards are Santa Monica’s first industry. The clay found in Santa Monica is of exceptional density, and a high iron content gives it a signature dark red color. William Spencer, who built the Rapp Saloon in 1875, was the first to manufacture clay products in the city. In 1903, Sunset Brick and Tile opened on the old Spencer site. Simons Brick plant (later Gladding McBean) opened nearby in 1904; the Water Garden Office Park now occupies its land. Today’s Bergamot Area includes Santa Monica’s brick yards and railroad property and is still home to creative arts uses.

Memorial Park
Aired: May 14, 2024
Location: 1041 Olympic Blvd
Narrated by: Karen Ginsberg 

Memorial Park is located at 1401 Olympic Blvd. Home to a baseball diamond since 1923, a stadium was built on the site in 1935, and hosted a wide variety of events. Although the stadium was demolished in 1949, the site continues to be used for baseball and other sports.

Philomathean Hall
Aired: April 23, 2024
Location: 1810 Broadway
Narrated by: Carolyne Edwards

The Philomathean Charity Literary and Art Club was formed in November 1921 by African American women in Santa Monica and served to buffer their community from the worst impacts of racism, and strove to elevate their circumstances through literacy, vocational training, higher education, arts, and culture. The Club reached another milestone on March 28, 1958 with a cornerstone laying ceremony for its new location, Philomathean Hall, in the Broadway neighborhood.

John Byers
Aired: April 9, 2024
Locations: Multiple
Narrated by: Mario Fonda-Bonardi

John Byers is Santa Monica’s own architect whose passion for reviving traditional Mexican adobe buildings helped shape the look of Santa Monica and beyond.

Mary Hotchkiss Park
Aired: March 19, 2024
Location: 2302 4th Street
Narrated by: Judy Abdo 

Today, the park is a simple, serene green space in middle of congested Santa Monica but that belies its history of intrigue as the former site of the Hotchkiss mansion, built by pioneering woman landowner Nancy Lucas and later owned by the A.B. and Mary Hotchkiss, which burned to the ground in mysterious circumstances in 1903 and was never re-built.

Rapp Saloon
Aired: February 27, 2024
Location: 1438 2nd Street
Narrated by: Albin Gielicz 

A remarkable survivor from the year Santa Monica was born, this small brick building was constructed as a beer hall by William Rapp. It has gone through many incarnations in its long life and saving the Rapp Saloon took several decades of effort. In 1986, the American Youth Hostel acquired the property, preserving and re-using the historic landmark as a model of combining new construction with historic preservation.

Woodlawn Cemetery
Aired: February 13, 2024
Location: 1847 14th Street
Narrated by: Libby Motika 

Dating back to the mid-19th century, Woodlawn Cemetery is a peaceful respite in the bustling City of Santa Monica. Its 26 verdant acres chronicle the diverse pioneers, civic leaders, artists and rascals whose contributions to history and society make the grounds come alive. 

Pascual Marquez Family Cemetery with tribute to Ernie Marquez
Aired: January 23, 2024

Location: 635 San Lorenzo Street
Narrated by: Libby Motika

A hidden gem in Santa Monica Canyon, the Pascual Marquez Family Cemetery is one of the last remnants of the Boca de Santa Monica land grant. For over 175 years, the Cemetery has been owned and cared for by the Marquez family, a pioneering Mexican family that continues to represent the enduring spirit of California’s Rancho period.