The rich history of Venice has fascinated many, yet due to its complexity, only a few can be considered aficionados. Self-appointed historian Jeffrey Stanton is one of those few. Part eccentric, part encyclopedia, Stanton has self-produced a handful of publications about Venice's history, including a hard-bound book. In 1978, he learned of the amusement parks that once existed, and acquired an annexation map from 1925. His profound interest led to what is now a collection of over 40 years' worth of information.
Stanton's eyes grow wide as he tells of the amusement piers. His enthusiasm would suggest he was descending the Giant Dipper, a twister-style coaster found on the Venice Pier in 1923, right before your eyes. His revelry, however, is short lived and he quickly diverts, talking about the business and politics that he feels ruined Venice's charm. Stanton's stories are a hotbed of information about Venice's annexation, the destruction of Winward Avenue, the filling of the canals and the rapid overgrowth of oil wells. Stanton believes that certain things that made Venice great died years ago, yet he still hangs on, reliving its heyday through his research.