In the Old Days:
Lagoon and Midway
Arielle Haze views
Unpainting the Town:
Helen K. Garber photos
Art at the Rose Cafe'
New Venice Sign
In the Old Days
Opened in early 1909, the Aquarium was on the pier. The postcard notes that it cost $20,000 to build, a huge price tag for a tourist attraction, but it was also a marine biology research station for University of Southern California
The attendees of any Los Angeles convention would be invited to Venice, in hopes that they would schedule their next gathering there. In 1915, the realtors of Venice entertained the National Real Estate Dealers Convention with lots of free fun, including a tour of the Aquarium.
It seems there was a new aquarium on the new pier after the fire. It was added in 1927 by diver Harry Behrens and located on the seaward side of the Dragon Gorge.
There were 48 glass tanks around a sunken seal tank, and sea lion shows near the entrance, and a fish hatchery in the rear.
In the 1890s, public aquaria had been a very big deal, and served as centerpieces for other events like concerts. Panati in his book on fads notes that the arrival of an octopus "attracted almost as much attention as the visit of a foreign emperor" and reports that at one aquarium a porpoises death was "mourned as a national calamity." By the time the one in Venice was built, the idea of an aquarium has settled into normalcy.
The "University of Southern California Bulletin" booklet is dated November 1910, issued by the Venice Marine Biological Station, Venice California. It includes descriptions of courses.
© 2004 - 2012 Pat Hartman