Venice, Los Angeles

Venice is a popular neighborhood of commercial, residential, and recreational beachfront located in Los Angeles, California. The urban area is known as Westside as it is in the western part of Los Angeles County.

Founded in 1905, Venice is a seaside resort that originally acted as an independent city, merging with Los Angeles in 1926. Currently, Venice is popular for its beaches, canals, and the Ocean Front Walk which is a 2.5-mile promenade only for pedestrian traffic, featuring mystics, performers, vendors, and artists of all types.


During the 19th Century

In 1839, the Mexican government granted an area known as La Ballona to Talamantes and Machados, providing them the Rancho La Ballona title. This included southern regions of Venice and later became part of the Port Ballona.

Founding of Venice

Originally known as ‘Venice of America’, Abbot Kinney, a tobacco millionaire had founded the beach resort town in 1905. Located just 14 miles west of Los Angeles, Kinney and his partner Francis Ryan purchased two miles of oceanfront property in 1891, south of Santa Monica. The resort town was built at the north end and given the name Ocean Park, soon being annexed to Santa Monica.

South of Navy Street continued being expanded after the death of Ryan, with Kinney and new partners. In 1904, the partnership had dissipated. Kinney who won the marshy south end of the property in a lucky coin toss, started to expand with a seaside resort.

On July 4th, 1905 Venice of America had opened, with several miles of canals being dug for drainage into the marsh lands for the residential region. A long pier of 1,200 feet was built with a ship restaurant, auditorium, and dance hall. A hot salt-water plunge and block-long arcade of businesses were built using Venetian architectures.

Then, the popular method of arriving was on the Pacific Electric Railway’s Red Cars, coming from Santa Monica and Los Angeles. The town could be toured on the Venice Miniature Railway. However, the largest attraction was the mile-long sloped beach, with tents available for renting.

In 1910, the population was 3,199 and quickly shot over 10,000 as the resort town attracted between 50,000 to 150,000 tourists during weekends.

In 1920, Kinney passed away, and Venice became more challenging to govern. Six weeks after his death, the amusement pier burned and tax revenue had been affected by the Prohibition.

The amusement pier had been quickly rebuilt by the Kinney family for competing with Pickering Pleasure Pier of Ocean Park. The rebuilt pier offered two roller coasters, a Noah’s Ark, Racing Derby, Mill Chutes and more.

By 1925, the pier had three coasters, Flying Circus aerial ride, a Fun House, and Dragon Slide. It had become known as the finest amusement pier in the west.

The Lick Pier located at Navy Street was built in 1923, with plans for another pier in 1925 on Leona Street, which is now Washington Street.