Things aren't always as they seem to be, especially in Venice, California.
Drive through the area and you'll see homes and buildings along paved streets...but it wasn't always this way.
for some time, many of those streets were in fact, canals.
The traffic circle where Tim Reinard and I discovered the blue gondola last year, was actually a sort of main lagoon, where much of the water activity was centered.
Here we have a handful of postcards from my collection that show us what that asphalt traffic circle used to look like.
In Abbot Kinney's "Venice of the West", this lagoon was the center of the universe. Lining the shores were boathouses, hotels, and amusement park attractions.
One of my favorite postcards is this one which I featured in my post on April 1st, 2009.
The first photo I chose for this post (the one at the top) features a great view of the attractions along the waterfront.
Taking a closer look at the gondola from that postcard, we see a cloth canopy - an item rarely seen these days on Venice-built gondolas.
There were several of these canopies in the early days of Venice, California. The cloth spread out over a lightweight metal frame, which is sometimes called a "felze de tela" is also seen in this postcard piece which was also from the lagoon. Looking at the two images (the postcard and the current shot), gives us a good idea of the lay of the land (and water) in that spot.
Another view can be seen in this postcard:
Lastly, we get a black-and-white photo view of things across the water at the Coral Canal Bridge.
Venice, California. If ever there were a place I'd like to visit with a time machine, I think it would be at the top of my list.