Venice Timeline




  • Abbot Kinney and Francis Ryan purchase controlling interest in the Ocean Park Casino, a country club featuring tennis courts.

  • In September the two partners purchase a 1-1/2 mile long, 275 acre tract of partially marshy beach front land south of Santa Monica.


  • Santa Fe Railroad passenger depot built in Ocean Park. First trains arrive on June 18th.


  • Kinney & Ryan begin selling small 25 x 100 foot beach lots at their "Santa Monica Tract" in March.

  • The YMCA decided to build a bathhouse & two story pavilion on donated land in June.


  • The Small community was renamed Ocean Park in May for a small eucalyptus grove on the adjacent Vawter property.

  • A 500 foot long pier was built into the ocean just south of Hill Street in September.


  • The resort in March consisted of 150 beach cottages, and a small commercial district along Pier Avenue.

  • A building boom added 40 new beach cottages, several stores, and Kinney's new 40 acre Ocean Park race course and golf links.

  • Kinney & Ryan granted permission to built a 1250 foot long pier at Pier Avenue over Santa Monica's city outfall sewer pipes. The town celebrated the pier's opening on August 29th with a clambake picnic.

  • Francis Ryan, Kinney's partner, died of a heart attack.


  • Ryan's widow married Thomas Dudley, a Santa Monica businessman and becomes Kinney's new partner.



  • Dudley sold his half interest in Ocean Park to Alexander Fraser, Henry Gage and George Merritt Jones.

  • Sherman & Clark announced the formation of the Beach Land Company to develop the marshy land at Playa del Rey into a Venetian style beach resort. With the completion of the Los Angeles Pacific's electric trolley line in October hundreds began visiting the resort.

  • To assure electric trolley service to Ocean Park from downtown Los Angeles, Kinney formed a partnership with Hook, the owner of the rival Los Angeles Traction Company. Although construction of the line started, Hook sold out to railroad interests who didn't want competition.


  • Kinney's partners built a Casino containing a restaurant and vaudeville theater beside the Ocean Park Pier.

  • Kinney and his partners began to disagree on the development of the marshy undeveloped southern portion of their property.


  • Kinney and his three partners meet in January to dissolve their Ocean Park Development Company partnership. Kinney won the coin toss and choose to own the undeveloped marshy property.

  • Voters residing in the unincorporated section of the Ocean Park Development land, south of Marine Avenue, voted to establish the city of Ocean Park on February 12th.

  • Henry Huntington and Arthur Parson's Pacific Amusement Company announce plans to develop Naples, a canaled town near Long Beach.

  • Strong & Dickerson acquired an 1800 foot long tract of beach front land south of Kinney's tract and began selling lots in their South Ocean Park development.

  • Kinney sent Frank Dunham, his building superintendent, to the east coast to visit various seaside resorts. He travelled to Boston where he hired one of Olmstead's apprentices as Venice's landscape architect and town planner. Dunham returned to Venice with preliminary plans in June.

  • Kinney signed contracts to dig the Venice's half mile long, 70 foot wide Grand Canal and build a 900 foot long, 30 foot wide pleasure pier at Windward Avenue. Work on the canal began in July and in September on the pier.

  • Final plans for Kinney's resort arrived in July and he hired architects Marsh and Russell to design its principal buildings. All buildings were be built in "Venetian Renaissance" style, with buildings featuring enclosed colonnaded walkways.

  • The Los Angeles Pacific completed its Short Line electric trolley line to Venice in September.

  • Contracts for Kinney's Ship Cafe and Auditorium, located on the pier, plus four business structures on Windward Avenue were awarded in the fall.

  • Kinney, unsatisfied with progress on the canals, in November hired the Hall Construction Company to use a steam dredge to complete Kinney's two miles of waterways.

  • Residential lots were offered for sale on November 12th.

  • The St. Mark's Hotel on Windward broke ground on December 5th.


  • Enormous waves from two disastrous winter storms in February and March demolish the entire Venice Pier. All the pier's buildings were damaged beyond repair. The beach was a pile of driftwood and many building sites were flooded. Damages exceeded $50,000 and set the resort's planned May opening back several months.

  • Venice of America's grand opening was rescheduled for the July 4th weekend and 1000 workers worked in shifts to rebuild the damaged pier and its Auditorium and Pavilion buildings in time.

  • Water, flowing from the sea in two huge pipes at a rate of 500 gallons a second, began filling the canal network's central lagoon on June 30th. Coffer dams held back water from the unfinished portions of the canal network where workers were cementing canal walls.

  • Opening weekend's events included yacht racing, swimming races in the lagoon, the opening of his six week long Assembly in the pier's 3000 seat auditorium, and band concerts and evening fireworks at the lagoon's huge 2500 seat amphitheater. Each day 20,000 visitors thronged Venice's streets for the four day holiday weekend. Many of the resort's buildings and attractions weren't open yet, but visitors found the resort enchanting. With only a few hotels open, many tourists stayed at Kinney's Tent City alongside the Grand Canal.

  • Ocean Park dedicated its enormous $150,000 indoor heated salt- water plunge on July 4th.

  • Strong Dickerson began selling canal lots in their adjacent Short Line Canal tract on July 6th. Work began shortly afterwards to dredge their canal network and connect it to the Playa del Rey lagoon and to Kinney's Venice of America's canals.

  • Venice's imported gondola fleet and miniature railroad began operation in July.

  • Venice of America's canal network was completed in September.

  • Kinney announced that the sideshows and amusements from the Portland World's Fair would come to Venice. Construction of buildings to accommodate them began in an area beside the canals.

  • In the off-season, the lower floor of the pier's Auditorium was converted to the Venetian Gardens. They served refreshments at tables while patrons listened to Ellery's Royal Italian Band.


  • Midway Plaisance opens along edge of the Grand Canal in January.

  • Sells-Floto Circus chooses Venice as their winter quarters.

  • Kinney's Lagoon Bathhouse with a 70 x 70 foot heated salt-water plunge opens in February.

  • Ocean Park built a 6000 seat auditorium adjacent to its Ocean Park Pier. A skating rink occupied a portion of the immense building. It opened in the spring.

  • Venice's skating rink, located at Trolley Way (Pacific Avenue) and Loreli, opened on May 11th. Venice quickly fielded a roller hockey team and challenged team from other southern California cities. The roller skating fad ended by Christmas.

  • Sarah Bernhardt, the controversial French actress performed at Venice's Auditorium on the Abbot Kinney Pier.

  • Kinney built a huge dance hall on his pier. When it opened in July, it could accommodate 800 couples on its wooden floor.

  • As Kinney began to consolidate power and gain control of many of the town's concessions, simple disputes with partners turned into a series of nasty lawsuits in the fall. He proved to be a ruthless businessman.

  • The Sells-Floto Circus made Venice their winter quarters from December to March. They returned in 1907 and 1910.

  • In December Harriman, who owned both the Southern Pacific Railroad and the Los Angles Pacific trolleys, gave Kinney an ultimatum to sell Venice of America. Kinney reached an agreement with the railroad baron that would allow him to develop the ocean front as a harbor. Fortunately Harriman lost interest.


  • Kinney and the town's Trustees were embattled in a power struggle over control of Venice of America. When they banned Sunday dancing in his Dance Hall and rescinded his liquor licenses, he closed down operations to deprive the city of most of its tax revenue. The Trustees, who badly miscalculated, yielded.

  • When Kinney decided to build a new ocean front bathhouse and plunge near his pier, several of the Trustees who owned the Ocean Park Pier refused to issue a building permit. Kinney didn't wait and poured the concrete foundations. When the sheriff decided to dynamite the foundations in June, the woman's Pick and Shovel Club held a picnic on its walls. The sheriff gave up. Kinney finished construction and his open-air pool opened in August. It was free to the public.

  • Bowling alleys replace the Japanese Exposition in the pier's Pavilion.

  • Kinney loses the dis-incorporation election on September 30th. Venice of America remains part of Ocean Park.

  • Venice's new city hall, located on the eastern outskirts of the community opened on October 31st. When the citizens passed a bond issue to finance it, Kinney offered several parcels of land that would have given it a central location. But the Trustees who were at odds with him, instead accepted a ten acre site for $5000 offered by David Evans who was friends with Mayor Burke. A building contract for $10,798 was awarded in May. When it opened, citizens dubbed it "Tokio Palace" because they thought it was about as far away as its namesake in the Orient.


  • Kinney got his revenge when his Good Government League slate of candidates for Trustees defeat his entrenched enemies. Although Kinney's supporters were clearly dominant, they were unable to muster a 2/3 majority to dis-incorporate from Ocean Park.

  • Work on Kinney's $100,000 bath house and plunge resumes in March. The 100 x 150 foot salt water pool could accomodate 2000 bathers. It opened for business on June 21st.

  • The 1908 summer season was the last for the Midway on the lagoon.

  • Fire fighters saved the Abbot Kinney Pier when a fire broke out near the Venice Theater at midnight October 26th.


  • The Venice Aquarium on Kinney's Pier opened in January. It's sunken seal and sea lion tank was surrounded by 48 glass tanks that contained specimens from the Santa Monica Bay.

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