Often described as an old railroad town, Venice mixes its history with a more modern and progressive side, as a popular vacation resort. The well-preserved buildings and architectural heritage of downtown Venice from the 1900s add a touch of character to this modern city. Venice has several buildings on the National Register of Historic Places including the Hotel Venice, Triangle Inn, Blalock House, the Venice Depot, Levillain-Letton House and the Edgewood and Eagle Point Historic Districts.
Venice Early History
One of the first settlers to the area was Richard Roberts in the 1870s and he built a home near what became known as Roberts Bay. In 1884 Frank Higel moved to the area and he began a citrus business. His family diversified into boat building, fishing and contracting. When Darwin Curry was appointed the first postmaster, Curry and Higel agreed upon the name of Venice for the community, and so it has remained.
With the arrival of the railroad in 1911, the town began to develop. City planner John Nolan laid out the original city plan in 1926 along with the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (BLE) Corporation. The town council, police and fire departments followed shortly after and Edward Worthington was made the first mayor in 1927. The town expanded further with the establishing of the Venice Army Air Base in 1942.
Not all of Venice's fame has been positive. In 2001, Robert Hanssen was charged with spying for the KGB and Venice hit the newspapers as his mother lived in the city. Later that year it was also discovered that three of the hijackers responsible for the September 11 attacks had all lived in Venice for a time and had trained at a private flight school at Venice Municipal Airport. Despite its notoriety, Venice remains a popular place for family vacations and snowbirds.
Beaches in Venice
Known for their safe swimming and watersports, the beaches of Venice do have something rather unique. They are known as the "Shark's Tooth Capital of the World". Take a walk along Caspersen Beach and keep a sharp lookout for the triangular shaped fossilized teeth which have a distinctive curve and can be anything up to three inches long.
Another unusual beach attraction is the drum circle that gathers every Saturday at sunset on Nokomis Beach. The drummers beat out the sun accompanied by energetic dancers. I guess even the Native Indians would have approved of this local tradition!
Despite keeping in touch with the 21st century, Venice has retained its slower pace of life, making it the perfect place to relax, unwind, browse the local shops or enjoy a laid-back meal at one of the many local restaurants.
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