Revised April 6, 1998
After the Venice Amusement Pier closed in 1946, there was hope that they would rebuild elsewhere in Venice. The Kinney Company did confidently make plans, but they didn't have the money to make it happen.
Charles Lorman instead announced plans in May 1947 for a $2.5 million park to be built on a 70 acre tract at Dell Avenue and Washington Street. His Ocean View Amusement Park would include the 30 acre Lake Los Angeles (location of the present Marina del Rey harbor) to be developed as an aquatic sports center. The park would have an elaborate midway, roller coaster, merry-go-round, children's rides, bowling alley and skating rink. A shortage of building materials prevented them from immediately starting construction. Lorman was soon replaced by Earle Charleton who scaled down the project significantly.
Eventually Earle Charleton's Venice Amusement Park, Inc. developed Venice Lake Park on the site in 1950. The kiddie park featured a 35 foot high Philadelphia Toboggan Company Junior roller coaster called the Little Dipper, John Kissane's two train, mile long miniature railroad that circled the park, several pony tracks, a lagoon boat ride in motor-driven boats, Zeppelin and Whirlwind aerial rides, a Tilt-a-whirl, Octopus and Skooter rides. The lake featured a water skiing show with a legless skier. Free evening dancing centered around the large turn-of-the-century merry-go-round on the main midway, The Venice Wrangler's furnished western style music.
In 1951, William Boyd, better known as Hoppalong Cassidy, was brought in as a business partner. The new and improved 80 acre park opened as Hoppyland on May 26, 1951 and included picnic grounds, baseball diamonds, horseshoe pitching lanes, and a lake for swimming and boating in addition to nearly twenty thrill rides. There was a special kiddie land area featuring a miniature merry-go-round, Ferris wheel, sleigh ride, airplane, pony cart and auto rides. Velare's Double Ferris Wheel, previously on the Ocean Park Pier, was added to the adult lineup.
Hoppyland devoted a large share of space to live pony rides. Thirty horses and ponies were available on three tracks. There was a ring for small children that was controlled by sweeps, a track where bigger kids could ride free running mounts, and a quarter mile pony cart ride around the park's goat mountain. The park, unfortunately, wasn't very popular and only lasted until 1954.
NOTE: Photographs of the park are very rare. While I've met dozens of families that held their kid's birthday parties there, not one carried a camera. Several movie magazine's in 1951 featured articles with photos on the park, but the Hoppy collector who owned them wouldn't let me Xerox them.