There is a mystery to the Venice of today as many residents are not familiar with the iconic father of this urban beach enclave.
Born in New Brunswick, New Jersey in 1850, Abbot Kinney was a resort visionary, real estate speculator, conservationist and entrepreneur who created the seashore venue “Venice of America.”
Originally known as Ocean Park, this developer and tobacco company executive created the community of Venice based on his travels to Italy and re-created the notion of canal homes and summer cottages & bungalows. With easy access to the beach thanks to the mini-railroad that brought thousands to this coastal community, most of the canals have since been paved over after Los Angeles absorbed Venice in 1925.
Kinney not only created Venice, but purchased large parcels of properties in neighboring Santa Monica before creating what many referred to as the “Coney Island of the Pacific.”
A world traveler who was fluent in six languages, it is Abbot Kinney who brought a European flavor of canals and gondolas to the Pacific.
Abbot Kinney’s strong influence still remains today and Abbot Kinney Boulevard is now the fashion nerve center of coastal Los Angeles along with prime dining, high fashion and some of LA’s most popular restaurants.
For the story of Venice cannot be told without the vast influence and vision of this urban planner and visionary for the Venice that thrives today!