Venice is my favorite beach city. You may remember this post about a shopping and eating excursion on Abbot Kinney Blvd. Well, food and tchotchkes aren't the only draw in Venice! Let's see, there's the ocean for one! There's a vibrant art scene too. Great people watching on the boardwalk... But what you may not know is Venice, like her namesake city in Italy, also has glorious canals!
Tobacco millionaire Abbot Kinney wanted to create a beach resort town and in 1905 he dug several miles of canals on marshy land. Not only did he build residential cottages but also a pier complete with roller coaster, arial acts, an aquarium and several other attractions.
Kinney Pier circa 1921 photo via Los Angeles Public Library
On weekends the population swelled to up to 150,000 visitors until the late 20's. It was the Disneyland of its day. But by the 50's Venice had become incredibly neglected. It became "The Slum By The Sea", with low rent run-down bungalows attracting European immigrants and young counterculture artists, poets and writers. (Would that I could step into a time machine and buy up all the adorable little cottages at discount prices!) Home to members of the Beat Generation and founding members of The Doors, the Venice of today is one part hippie and two parts bougie! If the city of LA hadn't let it fall into disrepair maybe it would never have become the art center it is today.
The table was all set for brunch - wouldn't you love to be a guest?
Stars stenciled on a bridge
70's globe chandeliers decorate a tree
"Fly pelican! Fly!"
I hope everyone is having a great week! I'm coming down off a crazy sugar-induced high from Easter Weekend celebrations... Wish me luck on day two of NO SUGAR!