JOURNAL - FEB - The King Of Venice
The King Of Venice
On the junction of North Venice Boulevard and Pacific Avenue, a dapper Abbot Kinney rises six storeys high, standing shoulder to shoulder with the palm trees, looking out over last vestiges of his ambitious urban fantasy.
A wealthy Europhile and lover of foreign travel, Kinney won this tract of formerly barren swampland on a coin toss in the late 1800s, before he set about transforming it into a fashionable, beachside resort town, styled in the image of its namesake, Venice, Italy.
The so-called ‘Venice of America’ opened to much fanfare in 1905, complete with arched walkways fashioned on St. Mark’s Square, and gondoliers poling their imported gondolas along fairy-lit canals, singing arias in Italian.
While many of the colonnades have now crumbled, and all but six canals had been filled with concrete to accommodate L.A.’s ceaseless traffic, some of Abbot Kinney’s touches still remain, lasting memorials to his pioneering vision of bringing the dolce vita of Renaissance Italy to southern California.