The Venice Canals
History of the Venice, California Canals and the creation of Venice of America
The Venice Canals were envisioned by their eccentric founder, Abbot Kinney, an asthmatic, entrepreneurial dreamer who won the land in a coin toss. As a speculative development venture, the well-traveled, well spoken Kinney who was fluent in seven languages, hit upon a brilliant marketing strategy to replicate Venice, Italy on a series of man-made canals on what were then, in 1904, Southern California wetlands. His plan was to create a "Venice of America".
The Venice Canals as they appeared in 1922 at what is now Main St.
From the start, the Venice Canals have indeed attracted tourists and homeowners. When used as the aquatic arteries to traverse the community, the Venice Canals became both a cultural and sociological symbol of opposition to progress - a Venice, California ideology that has been carried forward to this day. (See "Venice Politics").
The advent of the automobile and a trend towards "modernization" combined with ongoing issues like problems with stagnant water, sewerage overflows, flooding and mosquitoes associated with the canals reduced the once 16 miles of Venice Canals to approximately 1.5 miles by the 1950's. Most recently, and with the sort of community controversy that Venice, California is known for, the Venice Canals were dredged in the 1980's and a series of new, slanted shorelines were created so waterfowl could safely navigate the sloping terrain. The newly renovated and redeveloped homes on the remaining quiet and picturesque Venice Canals are considered among the most beautiful and desirable in Southern California and are priced in the millions of dollars.
... and the ducks are happy too.
The Venice Canals now are surrounded by multi-million dollar homes
You can hear more about the history of Venice and the Venice Canals when you take a Venice Beach Walking Tour.
Please watch for your opportunity to personally experience a tour of the remaining Venice Canals on an upcoming Venice Beach Walking Tour.