Developer Abbott Kinney built a large crisscross system of waterways on the western edge of Los Angeles in 1905. Canals with gondoliers and arched footbridges attracted newcomers to California and helped sell property to the public. As the automobile became more popular, the canals were viewed as outdated, and most of the waterways were filled in by 1929 to create more roads. By 1940, the remaining canals had fallen into disrepair, and the sidewalks were condemned by the city. The canal district remained in poor condition for more than 50 years before being renovated in 1992 with all new sidewalks. The canals reopened in 1993 and have become a very fashionable and expensive residential neighborhood and one of Los Angeles’ hidden treasures. There are now four east-west canals and two north-south canals located south of Venice Boulevard and east of Pacific Avenue. For a quick look at the center of the canal area, drive north or south on Dell Avenue and cross a narrow bridge over every canal.
Notes and images from Bob Hitchman.