The Venice Canal Historical District, or The Venice Canals, is a seaside community surrounding the short canals adjacent to the original seven distinct canals and a seaside lagoon. Real estate developer Abbot Kinney completed the Venice of America Canals in 1905 where it remained popular during the early 20th Century. The Canals and Lagoon of the original real estate community have since been filled in to accommodate the rise of the automobiles and railroad lines in the 1920s, known today as residential streets. Check out this article to find beautiful pictures of the original Venice of America Canals of 1905 and to learn more about the many changes to the area since the days of Abbot Kinney.
The residential area surrounding the remaining Venice Canals was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. The Venice Canals were reimagined again during a much needed renovation in 1992, wherein the Canals were drained to repair the walls and new, pedestrian-friendly, sidewalks and walkway bridges were put in. The canals re-opened in 1993 and today stands to be one of the most desirable and expensive residential section of Los Angeles.
I have personally been a guest to two homes in Venice Canals twice in my life.
The first time was when I was asked to deliver an ousted supervisor’s personal belongings from our shared place of employment in nearby Marina del Rey to her cozy cottage home rental. The owner insists he fired this eccentric artist for her flakiness. She insists her abrupt resignation was not a lightheaded decision, that she was treated with much disrespect from the company, and that she deserved better. She was an artist during her free time; however she never shared her personal art projects with me because she was too busy tending to her husband’s writing career. That’s what she told me, anyway. I learned years later through mutual friends that she and her husband both passed away after succumbing to a terrible disease.
I still think of her whenever I am in Venice. I was also reminded of the meaningful takeaway that she gifted the then-22 year old years ago: to work in a career I truly loved with people I actually liked so that I never feel like I am working. I hoped she spent her last days at the cottage doing what she loved and while being surrounded by her loved ones.
I suppose our brief tenure together as mentor/apprentice helped me realize years later that everything would eventually work out, just not in the way I expected it to. I recently visited her cottage, but found that the cottage was torn down. Change, however unexpected, comes with appreciation of what once was.
Undaunted, I continued my exploration, which led me to finding these similar looking cottages from many years ago:
The second time I entered a home in Venice Canals was ten years later, when my husband’s aunt and uncle were in town and they invited us to join their dear friend’s intimate dinner party. The dear friend lived in one of the more eclectic mansions that locals know as that funky house, as featured on the Los Angeles Times.
This is the house, the green and red one, in the middle of the frame:
Note: I read the aforementioned LA Times article when it was published many years ago, before I even received an invitation to Sharon’s home. Our family friend has since sold the home and we have lost touch with her, so I cannot ask her directly for the article or the story behind this house. Although my quick online search on the LA Times archives for this coverage proved futile, I will update this post as soon as I find the Featured Story of the paper’s Real Estate section for readers to check out.
A recent walk throughout the neighborhood today demonstrates that the funky vibe of the artistic Venice community also co-exists with the original cottages and the more minimalist styled homes of today. Extensive renovation work on many of the old cottage-style homes have been made, some being knocked down and replaced by many large, modern ones. However, a sprinkling of some of the original homes have been maintained and stand alongside the newly rebuilt ones.
I enjoyed walking through this part of Los Angeles because of how far it has come to maintain its idyllic beauty. The architecture, the outdoor gardens and the bridge walkways all have some story to tell; the fun part is imagining what went behind each purposeful creation. This area is one of the places I must keep on my list of places to take my out-of-town guests.
Here is a sampling of what I saw today. One could only imagine what inspiring life stories go on behind these closed doors.
Enjoy the view.
Venice Canals Walkway
Carroll & Eastern Canal Courts
Venice, CA 90293
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