In the Old Days:
Arielle Haze views
Unpainting the Town:
Helen K. Garber photos
Art at the Rose Cafe'
New Venice Sign
In the Old Days:
Market Street, originally named Zephyr, was one of the original streets specially designated for business in 1905 when Venice was founded. At the time, it was only one block long. When Upton Sinclair ran for governor during the Depression his office was on this street. What are now the more inland parts of Market Street used to be Aldebaran canal.
By the late 1970s, the neighborhood had gone in a direction deplored by indigenous artists, particularly the half dozen or so who were forced out of Market Street studios when the Ace and Janus galleries started up.
In the fall of 1980, a new temple of commerce was in its last stage of creation. The Gagosian Gallery was the work of two Venice architects, Robert Mangurian and Craig Hodgetts. Architecture critic Joseph Giovannini wrote that the overall tone of the building was understated, showing restraint and assurance. He said it had "spaces that refer to people by centering on them," whatever that means, and also mentioned balanced organization, primary forms and classical influence.
In those days the oil well at the foot of Market Street was still active, and it smelled like hell. Early in 1982 a city project widened the bike path in front of its enclosure. A movie called Fade to Black was made, with many Venice locations including Market Street.
Early in 1984, a business called Numera was located at 326 A Market Street. Numera offered a "complete personal computerized numerology reading" for only $15. That summer there was a Saturday block party on Market Street where some people promised to build a big geodesic dome, which would be taken down the following day.
Oh yes, it was built. And it didn't go away in a day.
It sat in the middle of the street for months (years?). How was it allowed
to just sit there in violation of hundreds of ordinances? Had the LAPD
taken a vacation? Who knows. But the fact that it was there added to the
magic of Venice. This can't be happening, yet there it was. Alas, one
day it was gone as in a dream.
Mecca Buffet when new, circa 1905
Buildings and Businesses on Market Street
#8 The Mecca Hotel seems to have been built in 1905, and still existed until 1920 at least. I'm not clear on whether this was the same building as the Mecca Buffet, at Market and Ocean Front, which was definitely built in 1905. The Mecca Buffet entrance faced onto Market. This building later became the Gas House.
#11 - a billiards parlor in the early '20s.
#17 - the Monte Carlo Café as early as 1916, still existing in the early '20s
#18 - the Samuel Haley Restaurant in the early '20s
# 18-1/2 - a cleaning and pressing establishment in the early '20s, the Hotel Leland in the early '30s
#19 - Lang's Cash Market, circa 1920
#20 - Venice Hardware in the early '20s
#21 - in the early '20s it was Fuller's barber shop, then in the early '30s it was Lang's bakery, then in 1936 it was a barber shop again (Sparks)
#22 - in the early '20s was H. C. Lieber real estate; in the early and mid '30's was Samuel Haley's auto park
#23 - Rose Hotel - In 1915 or 1916, Mrs. Lena Rose build
a modern class C Grand Hotel building with 25 rooms. It cost $15,000 and
was described as modern and up-to-date in every way. In the early 1920s
the address is listed as the Rose Hotel, as is #23-1/2. (Then there's
#52-1/2 - which, around 1930-36 at least, is recorded as the Grand Hotel.)
#24 - around 1920, the Grand Hotel and Venice Plumbing & Construction Co. So there's more confusion.
#24-1/2 - in the early '20s, Pratt the coffee importer
#25 - around 1920, C. H. Brandon the tailor occupied these premises. In the mid-'20s, it was C. J. Cronan, second hand furniture
#27 - in the early '30s, Piggly Wiggly grocery
#28 - in the early '20s, Zephyr Hotel, where jeweler L. E. Fornes also had his establishment
#30 - in the early '20s, Southern California Edison Co.
# 31 - around 1920, Ohira & Iwakura, a restaurant. A couple of years later, a tailor (Frank Ricciardi) was listed at the address, and a doctor (Alfred Graham) at #31a.
#33 - in the early '20s, Venice Sanitary Plumbing & Sheet Metal Works. In the early '30s, Venice Key & Grinding Shop, then Venice Key and Radio Shop. In 1936, G. H. Barnes, locksmith
#34 - a restaurant since at least 1930. Owned in 1933 by F. W. Wilkenson; in 1936 by Mrs. F. A. Pomeroy.
#35 - in 1933, listed as F. W, Kindschi, sign painter. In 1936, Mrs. F. A. Kindschi is listed as owner. It looks as if Mr. Kindschi died and his wife took over. Did she make signs, or hire somebody?
#36 - in the '20s it was the gas company, in the early '30s a clothes cleaning place.
#37 - sign painter in the early '30s, then Ray Bell food products.
#37-1/2 - Hotel Ritz 1930-36 at least, probably longer
#38 - Venice Construction Co. in the early '30s; Charles Chamberlin, plumber, in the mid-'30s
#40 - in early 1920s, Venice Electric. Listed in 1933 and 1936 as clothes cleaning establishment owned by Mrs. Ida Wilenske
#41 - Mid '30s - H. C. Bilger, jeweler
#42 - early '20s - F. B. McKenney, hardware
#45 - mid-'30s - Pennell Electric Co.
#47 - listed in 1933 as Concession Game Manufacturing Co
#48 - belonged to clothing manufacturer Fern Violette whose designer Jay Morley created some glitzy dresses which can still be found through online auction sites. I was told by a Venice local that Fern Violette moved to Montana to open a truck stop, which may or may not be factual. Filmmaker Carl Borack converted the building into offices, editing rooms, etc and Richard Dreyfuss had an office there in the late '70s. John Wehrle painted his great mural "Fall of Icarus" on the side of the building that was visible from the boardwalk. Later it was painted over by a group sponsored by Robert Graham.
#50 - early 1920s - Haley Hotel. Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller roomed together there, around 1925, when both were employed by the Venice Ballroom. #78-1/2 was also listed as a Haley Hotel address in the mid-30s. Did it move? Or spread out?
#51 - early 1930s - dancing teacher
#52 - early 1930s - Albert Stanley, real estate
#52-1/2 - around 1930-36 at least - Grand Hotel.
#54 - sign painter L. L. Soare in the mid-'30s
#57 - Southern California Edison in the early '30s
#58 - Zephyr Hotel in the early '30s
#61 - barber shop in the early '30s (G. S. Bedwell)
#64-72 was listed in the 1990 Historic Sites Survey Report as "Cucoloris (pedestrian under-roof arcade, part of an arcaded business street.)"
#65 - In 1936, insurance office of Mrs. M. A. De Cremer, and P.F. De Cremer, sign painter
#64-68 - Seward Hardware in the early 1930s
#65 - listed as Tennis Shop sporting goods in 1933
#69 - listed as K. C. Fraser, plumber, in 1936 Fraser
#70 - early 1930s - Southern Counties Gas Co
#72 - see story in right column
#73 - built 1922. in early '30s known as the Parkhurst Building, after a gent who was both an attorney and mayor or Venice. Also housed the office of another lawyer, Walter W. Rennie, and S. A. Sarkisian, road contractor, Municipal Contracting Co. (See story in right column)
#73 -#85 - 1990 Historic Sites Survey Report calls it the Flea Market Building.
#77 - early to mid-'30s: Peck & Bassner furniture
#78-1/2 - Hotel Haley, early to mid '30s
#85 - listed in 1930 and 1931 as Safeway Stores
at Innes Place - around 1920, Lagoon Auto Park
#107 - around 1920, Venice Sanitary Plumbing, Venice Sheet Metal Works (Flynn & Miller). In 1933, H. J. Hamilton, shoe shiner
#109 -Farley & Thatcher - wholesale produce, around 1920
#117 - Auto Repair, E. R. Raymond, around 1933
#119 - Also Raymond's auto repair, and Fred Steinle, printer
#123 - in 1933 Mrs.De Cremer's insurance office, and Mr. De Cremer's sign painting business, which later moved down the street to # 65. Also K. C. Franser, plumber
#125 - Frank Papson Jr., sheet metal worker, in 1933
#221 - listed in 1990 Historic Sites Survey Report as a single-family Craftsman house.
#302 - 1990 Historic Sites Survey Reports lists it as a Craftsman-style apartment building, one of the oldest apartments in Venice.
72 Market Street
The building was constructed in 1913, and for an unknown length of time it housed an electrical contractor. There is a company of the same name, Venice Electric Co., listed in a 1930 directory, carrying radios and supplies. The directory indicates the financial standing and credit-worthiness of local businesses. Unfortunately it has no addresses, and the credit rating of the Venice Electric Co. is not given, for an undisclosed reason.
The five-digit phone number probably went out of use in the late 1940s or early 1950s.
The first Ace/Venice gallery opened at 72 Market in 1971. One show called "Displaced/Replaced Mass" (Michael Heizer) was made up of large boulders, nesting in holes gouged out of the floor. Then it was the studio of Robert Irwin, although he had quit painting already so the space was used for the Market Street Program, an exhibition program curated by Josh Young. A series of group exhibitions were arranged according to the wishes of the artists, who had filled out questionnaires about which other artists they wanted to exhibit with.
In 1983 the premises were remodeled by architect Thom Mayne of Morphosis, and in 1984 saw the opening of the restaurant 72 Market Street. The owners were actor Dudley Moore, who was pleased to have a hangout within walking distance of his home, and producer/director Tony Bill, whose studio was across the street. In the old days Moore could sometimes be found playing piano at 72 Market. The fashionable eatery's main room held 60 people, including such notables as Mary Steenburgen, Ted Danson, Liza Minelli, Oscar Peterson, Herbie Hancock, Madonna, Dustin Hoffman, Sting, Yoko Ono, Randy Newman and Joni Mitchell.
The restaurant continued to show art, such as "Column", a commissioned work by Robert Graham. Rafael A. Nazario was the resident pianist from 1984-1990, playing classics and improvisational pieces. He was also part of a jazz trio which broadcast the program "Live from 72" on radio station KCRW.
The restaurant was also known as 72 Market Street Oyster Bar & Grill, and one insider claims that during the '80s, the wait staff were more concerned with selling cocaine than food.
In 1997, 72 Market was again remodeled by Morphosis, to the official description, "Central to the renovation is a new column, aligned with the cast-iron column of the front facade, which literally helps to support the old building. The etched metal post, placed in the middle of a cubical bar area, supports an earthquake tension ring ..The project addresses issues of loss of center, destabilization, and the breaking and making of architecture. It is meant to be perceived as a permanent building in a city that worships the ephemeral."
In 1998, during the tenure of noted chef Roland Gibert, a reviewer called 72 Market "one of the few places around where you can engage in a conversation without shouting." In 1999, Chef Gibert published the book 72 Market Street Dishes It Out!: A Collection of Recipes and Portraits from a Classic Venice Restaurant.
Over the years, many artists including Dennis Hopper showed their works at 72 Market. At one point "Fanfare in Venice," a benefit concert for National Public Radio was produced here. It featured Linda Ronstadt, Dudley Moore, Sid Caesar, Christopher Cross, Crosby, Stills & Nash, and others.
In 2000 the Oyster Bar & Grill closed, and another restaurant called Globe opened the next year under the ownership Mary Klingbeil and chef Joseph Manzare. Food writers warned prospective customers that although valet parking was available, most customers walked or bicycled to the Globe. The interior décor had changed some, with exposed brick and new bright colors of paint.
In 2003 and 2004, the street in front of 72 Market was the site of an arts fair called "Express Yourself", a fundraiser for the arts in public schools, attended by many show business celebrities.
- excerpts from Call Someplace Paradise
The event I'm going to is at 73 Market, where Tony Bill has offices along with three other producers and a couple of screenwriters. The building was bought and refurbished several years ago with money from The Sting. First the work crews removed seven truckloads of garbage. The renovations took five months and cost $100,000. According to one source, it was an abandoned old building that had most recently been a flophouse. According to another, there were 15 tenants in residence who were evicted to make way for the film company.
After an article about 73 Market appeared in one of the papers, a reader wrote in to say he had lived in the building back in 1946 with his mother and brother. It was noisy because of a nearby storefront church with an assertive bass drum. Still, he called the region "a paradise in disguise." I don't know if that would be the same church Rev. C. A. Gillette moved into in 1952. According to the Rev., in his day the hotels across the street from his church were all filled with addicts and hookers.
The screening room is furnished with plush and the same chrome art deco-ish furniture I've seen in the window of a classy shop on Main Street in Ocean Park. The clock above the bar is ringed with red and blue neon that spells out Market Street 1980. Tony Bill watches one of the videotapes and has a few words with the organizers. A woman arrives to meet him and they leave.
At 73 Market Street, post-production work on The Natural occupies several offices. Dudley Moore rents an office here too, I'm told. Tonight was the LA Course Network seminar. Around nine o'clock, three men walked past the door of the screening room, quitting for the day. One of them was Robert Redford, who said, "Hi folks."
ANOTHER 73 Market Street Event, sponsored by L.A. Cinematheque
© 2004 - 2012 Pat Hartman