Los Angeles is known for its many famous locations and neighborhoods, many of which have their own unique history and culture. Venice Beach is a legendary tourist area only a few short miles south of the heart of Hollywood. Venice Beach, named after the legendary city of Venice in Italy, has long since been an area where artists, musicians, surfers and weightlifters enjoy congregating.
The city of Venice originally came into existence in 1905. It was conceived as a separate town from the city of Los Angeles and remained that way for 21 years. Eventually, it was incorporated into the city limits of Los Angeles. Interestingly, Venice was a location known for its exploratory oil industry as crude was discovered here in the middle of the 1920’s. By the 1970’s, however, oil exploration in the region had stopped.
Abbot Kinney, a man who had made a huge fortune in the tobacco industry, was greatly responsible for the early development of Venice Beach. He began his investment in the area in 1891 when he bought two miles of property south of Santa Monica. He would slowly purchase more and more surrounding real estate. Over time, the region turned into a beach city intended to draw in tourists.
While the resort town was not a huge hit at the beginning, it would quickly become a very popular destination. It would become frequented by tourists from both in state and out of state.
Urban decline affected Venice Beach in the 1950’s and the sections of the town inland from the beaches became known for slums and blight. The beatniks, or Counterculture writers and poets, found a home in the area and used it for inspiration. Residents such as Naked Lunch author William Burroughs helped create the perception that Venice was as a locale where hippies and beatniks were welcome. This drew in more and more artists and writers to live in the area.
In the 1950’s Venice Beach became the premiere hangout for professional bodybuilders and this would be the case well into the 1980’s. All the famous bodybuilders of the sport’s golden era spent some time training at Gold’s Gym in Venice.
Decline in 1960’s and 1970’s
As the decades would pass, the great tourist destination would suffer a major decline due to competition from the tourist locales on the California coast. This would not be the end of Venice as a popular destination. Over time, slowly but surely, the city would start to rebuild itself economically.
The modern Venice Beach, CA is an interesting one. The boardwalk is once again a popular attraction for visitors. It certainly has its unique traits. Fortune tellers and performance artists and musicians play their wares on the boardwalk and this gives Venice a unique charm.
The interior, residential area of the neighborhood has been redeveloped and now boast amazing waterway canals and bridges. The canals are, essentially, reproductions of those Venice, Italy is famous for. The presence of these canals really does help the nice houses in Venice stand out even further.