Over the years rumors of ‘Abbott Kinneys Deed’ have floated through Venice but nobody ever seemed to know much about it, except that Abbott Kinney, the founder of Venice Beach, had made certain stipulations about how the deeded beach area was to be used.
But now, thanks to Venice activists — the deeds, there are more than one, have been made available to the public; we are now in possession of those deeds and can reveal what it was that Abbott Kinney stipulated over 100 years ago in 1904 and 1906.
It appears that Mr. Kinney had a very specific use in mind for the area – that is now considered Venice City Beach park – a “pleasure park” is how he and his partners described it in the 1904 ABBOTT KINNEY DEED:
“TO HAVE AND TO HOLD all and singular the said premises together with the appurtenances unto the said party of the second part and its successors and assigns in the hereinafter named trust, forever, as a pleasure park or beach for the use, benefit and enjoyment of the public in general and particularly the inhabitants of said city and the owners of the property lying adjacent to the property hereinbefore described; provided, that this conveyance is made upon the condition that no house or houses or building of any kind or character, or miniature, steam, street, or electric railway or roadway, or any gas, water or sewer pipe shall ever be erected, constructed, laid, maintained or operated, or he permitted or allowed to beerected, constructed, laid, maintained or operated, in, along, upon or over said lands or any part thereof; and that no game of any kind shall ever be permitted to be conducted or carried on upon said lands or any part thereof, and said lands and every part thereof must at all times be kept free from teaming, open, and unobstructed for the use and enjoyment of the public and as a pleasure park or beach, and said property shall be kept clean at said City’s expense.”
Later, in 1906, Kinney and his partners deeded the 40 ft wide strip of land known as Ocean Front Walk in the 1906 ABBOTT KINNEY DEED:
“IT BEING HEREBY UNDERSTOOD AND AGREED that said strip of land is to be used for the construction of a public sidewalk and for no other purpose.”
It appears that the City of Los Angeles has stuck, to the most part, to the terms of the deeds. However, there could be cause for concern, as several businesses fronting onto Ocean Front Walk (Venice Boardwalk) are occupying, and conducting business on what is actually public property ie. the boardwalk (sidewalk) that also happens to be a ‘park’ – which begs the question: would Abbott Kinney approve and, more to the point, is it legal?
From the web: the Abbot Kinney Company filed a lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles regarding what they considered to be a violation of the 1904 deed when the Rose parking lot was built, on what used to be the beach, at the end of Rose Avenue. The lawsuit ended in favor of the City of Los Angeles as noted here: http://law.justia.com/cases/california/court-of-appeal/2d/223/668.html