Venice of America

Los Angeles, California, USA

Filled in 1929

The Disappointed Tourist: Venice of America, Ellen Harvey, 2021. Oil and acrylic on Gessoboard, 18 x 24″ (46 x 61 cm). Photograph: Etienne Frossard.

They are a source of pride and sorrow in Los Angeles. My office is located on the tidal channel that feeds what remains of the Grand Canal. Still very beautiful (for a city), full of wildlife and reflections at night – it shows how other-worldly the complete canals must have been. Paul B.

Venice, originally called “Venice of America,” was a beach community founded by developer Abbot Kinney, who had won the marshy land on the south end of the property, west of Los Angeles, in a coin flip with his former partners. The resort was inspired by the Italian city and by the time it opened in 1905, Kinney had drained the marshes by digging several miles of canals, complete with gondolas, built a 1,200-foot (370 m)-long pleasure pier with an auditorium, ship restaurant, and dance hall, constructed a hot salt-water plunge, and built a block-long arcaded business street with Venetian architecture. After Venice merged with Los Angeles in 1926, the neighborhood declined and most of the canals were filled in.