Ah, Venice! Today known for its hip restaurant scene & the budding boutique & art gallery street Abbot Kinney. Then there is the beach. The Venice Boardwalk, that 2.5 mile promenade that features a myriad of colorful performers, mystics, artists, & vendors, is 2nd only to Disneyland as a So Cal tourist attraction.
The Boardwalk is the last vestige of the once-thriving amusement Kinney Pier which at its peak in 1925 boasted 3 roller coaster rides & was the finest amusement park on the West Coast. The old photos show a boisterous scene of revelers, with the mile-long Venice Beach full of people in vintage swimsuits next to their cottages or housekeeping tents which were available for rent.
But Prohibition severely curtailed Venice’s tax revenues & the town was annexed to Los Angeles in 1926. Los Angeles had different ideas for the former “Venice of America”. After fierce legal & political battles with residents, most of the canals built by Venice founder Abbot Kinney were filled in & paved as streets.Currently, 4 east-west canals & 2 north-south canals are all that remain.
Today, the residential neighborhoods of Venice are unique, charming & colorful. The canals area is one of the most expensive & coveted, since the canals have been rebuilt, with controlled water levels & elaborate filtration…& a resident population of ducks. Another popular neighborhood is called “the walk streets”. Sidewalks pass by the fronts of the houses, while garages & cars are relegated to the back. A third well known neighborhood is the Silver Triangle, located between Abbot Kinney Avenue & Washington Boulevard, where streets lay out in a 3-sided grid. The Oakwood neighborhood was previously characterized by gang activity, being the site of low income housing. Over the years gentrification has diluted the character of the area considerably.
Always characterized by diversity, Venice residents can live in tiny older homes on very small lots, or choose an architect built large contemporary….also probably on a small lot. The funky (& onetime cheap) character of Venice has attracted artists, architects (now many building environmentally green properties), & hippies, as well as the professionals & families of today. This colorful mixture is the appeal.
Note: Canal properties sold in 2015 in the range of $2.8M – $4.5M
The 2008 US Census counted 41,000 Venice residents. Venice is in the Los Angeles Unified School District, LAUSD.net. Public schools are: Venicehigh.net, Mark Twain Middle School, Broadway Elementary.org, Westminster Elementary School, Walgrove Avenue Elementary.