Revelers bedazzled by the elliptical sights of the Venice Beach boardwalk can now pick up a copy of a 288-page hardcover photo and text book that will educate them about the history of Venice, from its early 20th century carnival town origins to the present.
Author/editor Jeffrey Stanton plans to display and sell copies of his Venice California — Coney Island of the Pacific from 11 a.m. to dusk Saturdays and Sundays on the Venice Beach boardwalk through the end of the year.
The new Venice Centennial year hardback edition expands by 100 additional pages and 120 added photographs Stanton’s 1987 paperback edition.
Stanton’s book delves into Abbot Kinney’s struggles to build the city according to his vision; ways in which the Great Depression and World War II changed Venice; and details the financial decline of well-liked Venice amusements, theaters and attractions.
It touches on the voyeuristic days of Venice’s nude beach and its subsequent ban by the Los Angeles City Council, and includes an array of colorful historic Venice postcards.
Stanton says he has collected historical photographs of Venice, including its early canals and amusement pier, for 25 years.
For the text portion of his book, Stanton researched Venice history by reading microfilm versions of the long-defunct Venice Vanguard, the Santa Monica Evening Outlook and the Los Angeles Times newspapers.
Stanton puts a strong emphasis on the first half of the 20th Century, which he considers was the heyday of Venice, when Venice’s original canals and amusement pier were the area’s thriving attractions.
Venice amusement attractions including dance halls, fun houses and roller coasters (all featured in an array of historical photos in Stanton’s book) would attract an average of 200,000 visitors on weekends, according to Stanton’s research.
One chapter also chronicles the history of the Pacific Ocean Park Pier in Santa Monica, the area’s last amusement pier, which operated from 1958 to 1967.
Stanton blames Venice’s annexation by the City of Los Angeles for the deterioration of Venice as a destination resort reminiscent of New York’s Coney Island.
Stanton speaks of Venice as the “Disneyland” of the first half of the 20th century.
Information, (310) 821-2425.