If you mention Venice, California to most Southern California residents, they'll immediately think of Venice Beach.
Thoughts of Venice Beach inspire images of chainsaw jugglers, roller-skating guitar players, sunglasses vendors, and "Muscle Beach".
Very few around here even know that the Venice area once had miles of canals, dozens of gondolas, and was considered a cultural leader among West Coast cities a century ago.
Most of Abbot Kinney's canals were filled in a long time ago, but a small group were spared - some say it happened because during the Great Depression, city funding wasn't there to finish the project.
The surviving canals are in a grid formation,
with four running parallel in one direction,
joined by two perpendicular ones which connect them on both ends.
The only boats afloat today are canoes, kayaks, rowboats and pedal boats.
But gazing at the canals, I can't help but picture gondolas, and because I'm a "gondola fanatic", I immediately think about one day rowing Venetian-style on the canals of Venice, California.
I have rowed gondolas many times in those canals. Just a tough launching
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Thanks so much for this blog, Greg. I'm writing a short story set in Venice; your pics and short history have been so helpful!
Patrick Sean Lee
Thanks Patrick - it's nice to hear from people here. I never really know how many folks are reading the Gondola Blog.
Let me know if you need any input for your writing - I'm happy to help.
Have a great 4th of July,
Very nice blog, can you recommend a place to launch a kayak there?
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