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Artists Roster

In the Old Days:
Windward Avenue

Canals, Bridges


Lagoon and Midway

Miniature Railroad

Night Scenes

Market Street

Scenic Railway

1921 Amusements

Cabrillo Ship Cafe'

Venice Pier

Mecca Cafe

Bath House or Plunge

The Beach


Arielle Haze
Venice Photos

Arielle Haze views
Beach Art

Scott Shellstrom
Venice art

Jack Chipman

Dale Hartman

Venice Paintings by
Pat Hartman

Ehrlich buildings
Homage to Old Venice

Chris Burden

Unpainting the Town:
lost murals

Helen K. Garber photos

Jeff Verges

Lance Diskan

Avid Brickman

Art at the Rose Cafe'

New Venice Sign

Robbie Conal

Venice-based Art

Ferus Gallery

Mario Barrios

Gary Steinborn

Earl Newman

St. Charles Mural

Spoons of Venice

Rena Small



Arend's Venice Band played for the grand opening in 1905, so this was probably the same year. September 17 did not fall on a Sunday again until 1911, so this concert must have occurred in 1905.

In the old days


This photo is dated 1906. You'd be standing on the shore, looking out at the Auditorium. The ship Cabrillo, left, was at various stages a hotel, restaurant, cafe, and night club.

In 1905 enormous storm waves destroyed the first version of the Auditorium along with rest of pier, before Venice even opened. But the Grand Opening was already scheduled and Abbott Kinney was never a man to hesitate. 1000 workers were employed around the clock to rebuild the pier, including the auditorium, in just under a month.The workers finished on time to have a celebration party on July 1, before Venice of America went public a few days later on July 4.

These postcard views are obviously so close together in time, but the building has a red roof and trim in one picture, and green in the other. What color was it really? Or was one of them the earliest Auditorium, the one that was destroyed? And it was rebuilt exactly the same in every respect, except shingled in a different color?
The one with the red roof says "Ward McFadden, Proprietor."
The picture on the left, titled "Venetian Gardens," just might be the most alluring postcard ever. You would be out on a boat, to see this.
And now, from almost the same angle as the one above, we have the Auditorium with a green roof, and then in virtually the same pose, but in a whole different color scheme, with neither green roof nor red roof. How many liberties did the makers of postcards take?
Looking vaguely northward, the Auditorium, Cabrillo, and Dance Hall.
The Auditorium was also known as the Amphitheatre. This was the entrance in 1906, the year Sarah Bernhardt played there for 2 days. There were also, at various times, children's dance lessons, movies, boxing and prize fighting.
In 1912 the Fraternal Order of Eagles held their convention here.
Some time between 1910 and 1920, a group of six from Moscow, the Neffsky Troupe of dancers, singers, and instrumentalists, performed at the Auditorium.
The Auditorium seated from 3,000 to 3,500 people, depending on which source you look at. There was a huge, expensive organ.
The picture on the left is from 1905 or 1906. In the off -season, when not in use for other purposes, the Auditorium's lower floor was converted into the Venetian Gardens restaurant, where patrons were entertained by Ellery's Royal Italian Band.

"Greetings from" is printed, someone filled in "Venice & Regards from your friend William"
"Venice Assembly, Venice of America, Cal." is printed. It's hand-dated Feb. 2. 1906, so Venice was less than a year old.
The name "Venice Assembly" emulated the Chautauqua Assembly, the very popular movement that encouraged culture and learning.
The first Assembly was presided over by Benjamin Fay Mills. During two months, there were 900 lectures on many serious topics, plus poetry, lantern slide shows, a women's orchestra, readings from Macbeth, and opera. Visitors liked the rowdy amusement park aspect of Venice much better, so to Kinney's disappointment, the Assembly only lasted one season.
The Auditorium and entire pier were destroyed by fire in 1920.


© 2004 - 2012 Pat Hartman
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