The Venice Canals...As they appear today - Photo by Jeffrey Stanton
The canals are now a quaint upscale neighborhood in Venice. Fully restored and remodeled homes make it a postcard scene along the canal shores. Venice California originally was to be a copy of Venice, Italy, canals and all. Few of the original canals remain today.

Digging the canals in 1904 was back breaking work
The original 16 miles of canals were dug in 1904 under the direction of Abbot Kinney. Man and mule worked around the clock to dig the canals in time for the grand opening of Venice on July 4, 1905. Kinney was displeased with the progress so he deployed steam dredging equipment to complete the canals on time.

This 1913 color postcard shows boating at Coral Canal and the central lagoon - This is now the intersection of Main Street and the Venice Circle
When Venice of America was first conceived by Kinney, life was literately in the horse and buggy age. By the twenties, the automobile had made its mark and was here to stay. The canals were not practical for the horseless carriage. In 1929 the majority of the canals were filled in and converted to roads.

The majority of the canals were filled in 1929 making way for the age of the automobile
In the sixties the canals were home to beatniks and artists which soon gave way to the hippies. Rock bands and pot parties were the norm. Jim Morrison of The Doors called the canals home during the 60s. During the seventies, the Linnie Canal Downwind Boat Races represented the last gester of the party atmosphere of the canals. It was run on a secret summer afternoon and contestants had two hours to build their boat and afterwards they sailed it down Linnie Canal. The masts had to be lowered to pass beneath three canal bridges.

Good times during the "Secret Linnie Canal Race" - Photo by Jeffrey Stanton
As real estate prices sky-rocketed in the late seventies, the houses along the canals were remodeled and homes were built on the numerous vacant lots. Soon the affluent home owners replaced the artists and Bohemians. In 1994 after nearly thirty years of talks, Los Angeles refurbished the six remaining canals for $6,000,000. Some of the most beautiful homes on Los Angeles’ West Side line the canals maintaining a unique community atmosphere. The canals today provide a sense of serenity that Venetians and tourists alike greatly appreciate.

Please enjoy some fine pen & ink studies of the Venice canals by Eleanore Fahey

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