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The hidden Pearl of California's Venice

In the heart of Venice, California, hidden from drivers rushing by on nearby streets, exists a place of secret beauty few tourists ever see.

This peaceful haven lies south of Venice Boulevard and only a minute walk from the beach’s golden sands.

Dreamers and visionaries have long been drawn to the American West and Abbott Kinney, born in New Jersey in 1850, was one of these.

Kinney studied in Germany, France, and Switzerland. After having traveled the world he ended up in California where he brought a scent of Italian beauty.

Inspired by man-made canals of the Italian city, Venice, in 1905, in Southern California, Kinney built the Venice Canal Historic District of Los Angeles.

There were initially eight miles of canals. These fell into disrepair due to arguments over who should maintain them. As car ownership grew, some canals were filled and replaced with roads. But two miles worth survived.

In 1992, the city declared the neighborhood, surrounded by the canals, the Venice Canal Historic District and restored the remaining waterways. Nowadays, this neighborhood is one of California's most beautiful neighborhoods.

The canals can’t be seen from busy, local streets because tightly-packed homes surround them, shielding them from passing eyes. But those who travel one of the footpaths or narrow roads that lead to the District find hundreds of beautiful homes built over the course of more than a century.

A charming bungalow faces a mansion built to resemble a castle across still, clean water.

An art decor home with graceful curves sits by a three-story Villa inspired by the ones found in the original Venice. Lovingly-tended gardens brighten the neighborhood.

Ducks splash about and hunt tiny fish.

The occasional pedestrian takes in this neighborhood’s quiet beauty. Who is this pedestrian? It could be you!

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