Venice of America
A Cultural Hub Known For its Eccentricities
Originally founded as a beach resort town in 1905 by a wealthy developer named Abbott Kinney, it was a marshland eventually cultivated into a series of canals.
Venice was the birthplace of many famous people, places, and things. Amongst them are the famous band The Doors–Jimmy Morrison is said to have lived in one of the houses on the Venice Canals; Carol Shelby opened his first Shelby manufacturing plant in 1964; Venice High School–in 1996 won the National Science Bowl out of 54 teams across the United States.
Although it may be hard to conceive Venice once had an airport located at the intersection of Venice Blvd. and Abbott Kinney Blvd. It was the first official airport in the state of California. However, due to urban sprawl, the airport was not able to extend its runway and subsequently, Ince Field closed in 1923 replaced by businesses and homes.
Slum by the Sea
With all of its beauty and appeal, Venice has an unattractive past, too.
During a period after being annexed by the City of Los Angeles in 1929, Venice fell into neglect. The city seemingly had a disconcerting interest in maintaining the unique character of the community. As the years progressed the area picked up the nickname “Slum by the Sea”.
For many years the community was troubled with gang activity. In the 1990s the Shoreline Crips and Venice-13 were feuding over drug sales territory. By the early 2000s gang activity was greatly reduced due to demographic shifts in the area along with a greater police presence.
Venice is currently experiencing a growing homeless population (as of 2022). With as many as two-thousand estimated homeless persons in the Venice area–up from 2014–efforts have been made to address a seemingly elusive problem. In 2020 a transitional housing shelter providing up to 154 beds was established at a former metro bus yard.