This film from Cinecraft documents the General Electric Company's 1935 corporate retreat in Cleveland, Ohio's Nela Park, so named for the National Electric Lamp Association (NELA), a company founded in 1901.
An early stakeholder in the company, General Electric eventually came to hold a large enough controlling interest in the corporation that antitrust investigations resulted in its dissolution in 1911. General Electric then absorbed NELA's assets, including the newly built Nela Park. The property, added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975, was the world’s first suburban industrial park.
At the time of its completion, the 92-acre complex was billed as a “University of Light” and featured Georgian Revival architecture housing amenities for employees like a dining hall, library, medical facilities, a bank, parking, tennis courts, baseball fields, a swimming pool, bowling alleys, and entertainment venues.
This reel, one of two, shows Nela Park as it stood in 1935 and the uses it served for General Electric. The camp’s attendees are shown enjoying a cookout, drinking beer, playing games, horsing around with goats, getting a visit from a goddess of light, watching a variety show featuring "The Flying Whirlos" and other acts, hosting a small but elaborate parade, and attending the 1935 Major League Baseball All Star Game at Cleveland Stadium.
You can see more footage from Nela Park in our Digital Archive’s Cinecraft Productions Films page. Cinecraft Productions was founded in 1939 by Ray Culley (1904-1983) and Betty (Buehner) Culley (1914-2016) in Cleveland, Ohio and specialized in commercial productions for business, industry, trade organizations, and, in some cases, government agencies and social service organizations. Cinecraft is still in business and rightfully claims itself the “country's longest-standing corporate film & video production house.”
Hagley Library’s Cinecraft collections include motion pictures, still images, scripts and related production documents from the company's founding into the early 1980s, with the bulk covering the 1950s to the 1970s. These materials have not been digitized in its entirety but we are currently making frequent additions.
For more information and a detailed description of the collections, click to view the finding aids for the Culley family collection of Cinecraft Productions audiovisual materials (Accession 2018.201) and our collection of Cinecraft, Inc. films (Accession 2019.227). You can also watch a highlight reel of the Cinecraft motion picture collection and read more about the Cinecraft collection in the Hagley Collections and Research and News.