Venice of America
The canals, lagoon and Venetian style buildings were all thanks to his dream. “Venice of America,” as he called it, opened on July 4th 1905. The park featured a Ferris Wheel, a hydrogen filled balloon, the Rapids water ride and other diversions to thrill the public.
Unfortunately for Kinney, his desire to revive art and culture did not take off as desired. By December 1905 he knew that this dream of a cultural mecca was never going to be realized. Being the astute businessman he was, Abbot Kinney turned his attentions to what the public wanted, and Venice came to be known as the “Playland of the Pacific.”
While not at all in keeping with his original vision, Venice was transformed into a dazzling amusement park that made a tidy profit. There was a full sized amusement pier and a miniature steam railroad ran around the entire park.