(1905)* - The street is filled with people strolling, and the air with banners strung from the Hunt Hotel on the left. A banner on the building to the near left declares that "St. Marks Hotel will open in early July". This was the grand opening celebration for Venice of America, July 4, 1905.
Venice of America was founded by tobacco millionaire Abbot Kinney in 1905 as a beach resort town, 14 miles west of Los Angeles. He and his partner Francis Ryan had bought two miles of oceanfront property south of Santa Monica in 1891. They built a resort town on the north end of the property called Ocean Park, which was soon annexed to Santa Monica. After Ryan died, Kinney and his new partners continued building south of Navy Street in the unincorporated territory. After the partnership dissolved in 1904, Kinney built on the marshy land on the south end of the property, intending to create a seaside resort like its namesake in Italy.^
(ca. 1905)* - There are wall to wall people filling Windward Avenue in Venice of America, all looking and moving toward the ocean. "VENICE" is strung above their heads over the street in large letters.
When Venice of America opened on July 4, 1905, Kinney had dug several miles of canals to drain the marshes for his residential area, built a 1,200-foot long pleasure pier with an auditorium, ship restaurant, and dance hall, constructed a hot salt-water plunge, and built a block-long arcaded business street with Venetian architecture. Tourists, mostly arriving on the "Red Cars" of the Pacific Electric Railway from Los Angeles and Santa Monica, then rode Venice's miniature railroad and gondolas to tour the town. But the biggest attraction was Venice's mile-long gently sloping beach. Cottages and housekeeping tents were available for rent.^
(ca. 1905)* - View of the Lagoon at Venice. Groups of people pay for a boat or a gondola ride on the canal. The Antler Hotel can be seen in the background to the left of the bridge over the canal.
In 1904, Abbott Kinney completed the canals as part of a dream to transplant a bit of old Venice to California and imported Venetian gondolas with costumed gondoliers.*
(ca. 1905)^ - A gondolier and boat passes under one of the bridges on the canal route. At the same time a pedestrian and a bicycle rider are passing over the bridge.
(1908)#^^ - View of several fashionably dressed men and women on one of the larger gondolas at a Venice canal.
The beautifully lit canals with gondoliers and arched bridges drew widespread publicity and helped sell lots in Kinney’s Venice development. However, as the automobile gained in popularity, the canals were viewed by many as outdated, and the bulk of the canals were filled in 1929 to create roads.^
(1906)* - Two women and a girl are riding a camel past buildings in Venice. A camel driver and two boys accompany them.
The Venice Neighborhood Council is made up of individuals from our community who
are interested in improving and maintaining the quality of life of the stakeholders of Venice.