Venice is a beach front neighbourhood on the West side of Los Angeles. It is known for its canals, beaches and Ocean Front Walk, a 2.5 mile pedestrian only promenade that features performers, fortune-tellers, artists, and vendors. Venice was home to some of Los Angeles’ early beat poets and artists and has served as an important cultural centre of the city.
Originally called “Venice of America,” it was founded by tobacco millionaire Abbot Kinney in 1905 as a beach resort town. Back then it was 14 miles west of LA. He and his partner Francis Ryan had bought two miles (3.24 km) of ocean front property south of Santa Monica in 1891. When Venice of America opened on July 4, 1905, Kinney had dug several miles of canals to drain the marshes for his residential area. He also Built a 370m long pleasure pier with an auditorium, ship restaurant, and dance hall, constructed a hot salt-water plunge. Finally he built a block-long arcaded business street with Venetian style architecture. Venice was formally annexed to Los Angeles in 1926.
In 1929 oil was discovered south of Washington Street. Within two years, 450 oil wells covered the area, and drilling waste clogged the remaining waterways.The wells produced oil into the 1970s. As of 2008, the population is estimated to be around 40,885. The median household income is $67,057, making it one the wealthiest neighbourhoods in the city. Venice is today one of the most vibrant and eclectic areas in Los Angeles and it continues a tradition of liberal social change involving prominent Westsiders.
Venice Beach includes the beach, the promenade that runs parallel to the beach (“Ocean Front Walk” or just “the board walk”), Muscle Beach, the handball courts, the paddle tennis courts, Skate Dancing plaza, the numerous beach volleyball courts, the bike trail and the businesses on Ocean Front Walk.