Elco Welding: An Old Venice, CA Icon

Jul 14, 2021  By William Royce

Elco Welding, housed in an old building at 1711 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, in Venice, California, is unique among the many nearby businesses and pricey shops in a very trendy area. Built in 1928, this structure has seen many years of local history, and is still an active welding shop and metal working facility. Two brothers, Mark and Bob Libow, run the business. They inherited it from their father Seymour, who worked for the original owner of the building. This business has outlasted many others in the area because it still provides valuable metalworking skills to other local businesses, car owners and even artists in the process of creating art from metal of all kinds.

Of great historical interest, according to Mark, was the use of the back section of the shop to distribute booze to the LA and Hollywood elite during the prohibition years. “Car repair customers”, including movie stars like Wallace Beery, drove their cars into the shop, the mechanics would open the hood, and stash illicit liquor inside. Money would change hands and the customers were on their way. Also, one metal lathe has placards indicating it met the standards of the US Army Corps of Engineers during World War II.

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