When one thinks of Venice, they’re probably either thinking of Venice, Italy or Venice Beach, California. Unbeknownst to many, there was a once a plan set out to merge the two in now what is referred to as the Venice Canal Historic District. The district is noteworthy for its man-made canals built in by developer Abbot Kinney as part of his Venice of America plan, where Kinney sought to recreate the appearance and feel of Venice, Italy in Southern California. The once beautifully lit canals were complete with gondoliers and arched bridges that drew widespread publicity and helped sell lots in the 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 However, as the automobile gained in popularity, the canals were viewed by many as outdated, and the bulk of the canals were filled in in 1929 to create roads. By 1940, the remaining canals had fallen into disrepair, and the sidewalks were condemned by the city. The canal district remained in poor condition for more than 40 years, as numerous proposals to renovate the canals failed due to lack of funding and environmental concerns. The canals were finally renovated in 1992, with the canals being drained and new sidewalks and walls being built.
If you’re coming to Southern California and are looking to witness something a little different, this is a good choice. Parking is not easy, so it’s not a bad idea to park a few blocks away and walk to the canals.
Photos taken October 30, 2011.