August 18, 2022 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Windward Circle Gondola Returning

Gondola under restoration, set to return to Windward Circle.

By Keldine Hull

Windward Circle’s gondola display will so return to all its glory. Currently getting patched and painted, the restoration process is still underway, but if you get a long enough look, you can almost feel yourself gliding lazily throughout the canals in the most timeless way to travel on water.

Tobacco magnate and multi-millionaire Abbot Kinney furrowed the first canals in the untapped areas to the west of Los Angeles to create a new Venice; a “Venice of the West.” Kinney returned to Venice in Italy to hire over thirty gondoliers, importing their authentic gondolas to his new Venice and adding the finishing touches to his ambitious vision. On July 4, 1905, Venice, California opened and people from all over the country couldn’t resist visiting a piece of Italy on the heels of the Pacific Ocean. Painted in almost every color under the sun, the gondolas were a popular attraction for tourists and romantics alike.    

Mother Nature was a force to be reckoned with as fires and rising tides eventually made the canals a health hazard. Arbitrarily bulldozed over by construction crews, many canals were lost and with them, a home for the beautiful gondolas that once transported visitors throughout those same canals. Venetian inspired canals sprinkled with colorful gondolas became roadways and streets filled with cars and bumper to bumper traffic. 

Robin Murez, artist and sculptor of public art, explains the importance of the gondola to Venice history. “It’s an immediately recognizable icon of the magic that Abbot Kinney created when he built Venice of America,” Murez begins. “He dredged what was ‘the swamp,’ forming canals, and this eclectic mass-up of Italian architecture and Coney Island amusements. His vision was a unique seaside community of arts, culture, and fun.”

The gondola getting restored at Windward Circle. Photo: VeniceUpdate.com.

Popular Surfside bartender Jackson Rayfield has lived in Venice for ten years and still appreciates the vision Abbot Kinney had for Venice over a century ago. “There’s nothing like Venice in North America,” Rayflied explains. “We all win seeing the heart of what he started when he decided to dig out canals, bring gondoliers from the actual Venice, and do something special. When I moved here, I was never so excited to say I lived somewhere. I literally just got this kind of feeling that there’s something special down here. There’s a groove. It feels wonderful, and I’ve always had so much pride living in Venice.” Even though Abbot Kinney’s vision has received many facelifts throughout the decades, the heart of what makes Venice unique remains.

The gondola display is a physical reminder of Venice’s roots and the unique qualities that make Venice much for than a beachside city. “It’s not just a place with fancy boutiques, expensive restaurants, hip techies, nor homeless peddlers,” Murez continues. “We have an artistic history.  We have writers, artists, musicians and performers. The gondola sparks our imaginations and inspires creativity in our community. Let’s display the gondola, proudly!”

The canals in Venice have become such a staple that it’s easy to forget about their historical significance. Next time you walk along the pathways, imagine the canals as they once were created to be; our own little piece of Italy right here in Southern California.

The gondola display, located in what was originally Grand Lagoon, is a Venice Historical Society project supported by Venice residents. A proper unveiling is scheduled for a later date. To learn more about Venice’s rich history, visit http://www.veniceofamerica.org/index.php.

in Opinion
Related Posts

West LA Dems Deliver Overwhelming Endorsement of Erin Darling, Receives 80.6% of Club Ballots

August 16, 2022

August 16, 2022

Darling picks up additional labor support, Park secures the endorsement of California Treasurer Fiona Ma! By Nick Antonicello On a...

A Venice Eyesore: When Will Thoma’s #16 Be Finally Torn Down?

August 16, 2022

August 16, 2022

Abandoned for nearly a decade, when will someone do something? By Nick Antonicello It was never a  “Tomy’s” or even...

Column: Time to Crack Down on Vacant Homes’ Owners

August 12, 2022

August 12, 2022

By Tom Elias, Columnist ​​There is no doubt California has a housing shortage. That’s fact even in the wake of...

Column: Iconic Legislative Leader Seeks to Represent West LA on County Board of Supervisors

August 12, 2022

August 12, 2022

Senator Bob Hertzberg plans to use his political capital to address homelessness, housing, public safety, jobs, and other quality-of-life concerns...

Review: A Santa Monica Restaurant’s New Happy Hour is Top-Notch

August 10, 2022

August 10, 2022

By Dolores Quintana Birdie G’s in Santa Monica has a new Happy Hour and it is something special. For one...

Lights Out: Venice Pier Is Dark as Ten of the Fifteen Lamp Posts Are Inoperable and Broke!

August 9, 2022

August 9, 2022

After millions invested in pier renovations, who will fix the lights? By Nick Antonicello How many government employees does it...

The Baggage of Mike Bonin

August 6, 2022

August 6, 2022

By Nick Antonicello Mike Bonin really loves the limelight. Refusing to go away quietly, he further embarrassed himself Tuesday by...

LA BOARD OF SUPERVISORS “RIGGING DEMOCRACY” TO UNDERMINE THE DIRECT ELECTION OF THE SHERIFF THIS NOVEMBER!

August 5, 2022

August 5, 2022

4-1 VOTE BY FIVE LUNA BACKERS TO DISLODGE THE INTEGRITY OF THE COUNTY CHARTER FLIES IN THE FACE OF OPEN...

Column: “Momentum Is on Our Side”

August 1, 2022

August 1, 2022

CD-11 Candidate Erin Darling rolls out series of new endorsements as race heats up with just under 100 days before...

Column: CD-11 Council Candidate Traci Park Appears Before VNC Homeless Committee

July 28, 2022

July 28, 2022

Q&A with Council runoff hopeful, Park talks frankly about homelessness in Venice, describing the issue as complex, no single solution,...

LA Supervisor Sheila Kuehl Endorses Erin Darling for Council in CD-11

July 26, 2022

July 26, 2022

By Nick Antonicello Retiring Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, the first openly gay member of the California legislature and...

Column: “Temperament & Patience” Define Judicial Candidate Lyons Yearning for Public Service!

July 26, 2022

July 26, 2022

Judicial candidate Melissa Lyons has a different perspective as she sees the application of justice upfront in her current role...

Column: Can Caruso Can?

July 19, 2022

July 19, 2022

Billionaire developer’s forty-million dollar plus campaign falls short and flat, as he limps into runoff with Washington, DC insider Karen...

Column: Darling – The LA Democratic Party’s Choice for Council in CD-11!

July 15, 2022

July 15, 2022

Crucial party endorsement consolidates progressives and left-of-center Democrats behind the first-place finisher in the June 7th primary that formerly endorsed...

Column: Public Service Is Her Calling!

July 12, 2022

July 12, 2022

Judicial Candidate Melissa Renee Hammond spent her life planning for this moment, to serve as a Judge of the Superior...