E.g., 12/14/2018

A Step Back in Time: Brown Berets

Brown Berets Catalina Island
On August 30, 1972, the Los Angeles Times headline read “Brown Berets Invade Santa Catalina Island.” The Brown Berets were a pro-Chicano group formed in the late 1960’s to address the issues of farm workers’ rights, educational reform, anti-war activities, police brutality and other problems confronting the Chicano community.

A Step Back in Time: Bird Park

Catalina Island Bird Park
Catalina Island’s Bird Park opened in 1929 and was a popular attraction in Avalon for over 35 years. Admission to the park was free. It was considered the world’s largest bird park at the time, covering almost seven and a half acres in Avalon Canyon, across from the Catalina Island Golf Course.

A Step Back in Time: Hotel Atwater

Atwater Building The Atwater Building opened in time for the start of the 1920 summer season on July 1, less than a year after William Wrigley Jr. purchased the Santa Catalina Island Company. Wrigley hired David Malcom Renton, known as "DM", a Pasadena builder, to take charge of the project. It was the beginning of a work relationship and friendship that would last Wrigley’s lifetime. Wrigley often referring to DM as “my right hand.” Renton's other Catalina Island projects included Mt. Ada, Thompson Dam, Catalina Pottery, Casino Ballroom, Wrigley Memorial and El Encanto. The Hotel Atwater was...

Pigeon Mail Service

Catalina Island Homing Pigeon Service
Santa Catalina Island Homing Pigeon Service Up until 1894, the only way for Avalon to communicate with the mainland was to send messages to the mainland via the late afternoon steamship. The island was then owned by the Banning brothers, who had thought about laying cable between the mainland and island, but found it too expensive of an enterprise. It was then that two brothers, Otto and Oswald Zahn stepped up (or more correctly, flew up) to meet the needs of the community and its visitors. The Zahns created a homing pigeon service from Avalon to downtown Los Angeles. Once the carrier pigeon...

A Step Back in Time: Union Barracks

Civil War Barracks Catalina Island
Union Barracks Santa Catalina Island has the unusual distinction of having Union Barracks dating back to the Civil War. They were built in 1864 and are located at the island’s isthmus, now called Two Harbors. Lt. Col. James F. Curtis , in a scout report to his superiors, told of the two good harbors, available fresh water and the best weather in the southern part of the California coastline. The reason for the scouting of the island was smuggling. Southern California was full of Confederate sympathizers and the U.S. Army, Drum Barracks in San Pedro was concerned about Confederacy guns and...

A Step Back in Time: Incline Electric Railway

Incline Electric Railway - sometimes called “Angel’s Flight” after the funicular that was built in 1901 on Los Angeles’ Bunker Hill. In 1908, under the Banning Brother’s ownership of the island, Hancock Banning was the instigator and supervisor of the railway. The entrance was next to Avalon’s Greek amphitheater at the southeast end of Avenida de Cresenta (Crescent Avenue). The cart could hold twelve passengers and as it ascended the hillside up to Buena Vista Park (the point below Mt. Ada) a second cart would be descending down to Lovers Cove as a counter-balance. At the apex of the two...

A Step Back in Time: Little Harbor Inn

If you had visited Santa Catalina Island in 1895, you might have taken a glorious stagecoach ride from Avalon to the Isthmus. It was the first stagecoach ride out of Avalon since that segment of the road had been completed in June of that year. Six horses began to climb the steep, rugged dirt road that led into the heart of the island and although the excitement and danger was enough to take your breath away, it was truly a spectacular trip of beautiful foliage and wild flowers set against a sunny bright blue sky that held you and your fellow passengers in awe. The island’s newest hotel, The...

A Step Back in Time: Catalina Tile

Catalina Pottery
In the early 1920’s, William Wrigley Jr. and David M. Renton were driving Mr. Wrigley’s car up by the Catalina Island golf course. It had been raining earlier in the day and as the gentlemen turned the car around, it became stuck in some clay-like mud. Mr. Renton wondered if the clay was good enough to make bricks. Mr. Wrigley told him to look into it. That began the use of clay bricks for building in Avalon as early at 1923. It was a department of the Santa Catalina Island Company. The Tile Factory and later the Catalina Tile and Pottery followed and became a prosperous business unto itself...

Blanche W. Set to Retire

Blanche W Catalina Island
Our wonderfully iconic “Blanche W.” will be saying goodbye to her millions of fans after 85 years of service, at the end of this summer. Built in 1924 “The Blanche,” as we all call her, has grown old and beyond being able to repair and maintain her to the standards of the U.S. Coast Guard. The Blanche W. is a 64-foot, 98-passenger, solid-wood vessel built just to watch the flying fish. Her World-War-I-era, 40-million candlepower searchlights shine on the sea at an angle that simulates the silver streak of a large predator fish, enticing the fish to fly out of the water and into visitors'...

Catalina Chimes Tower

First time visitors to Avalon are often deeply moved by the sights and sounds of this beautiful seaside hamlet. The iconic Catalina Casino is invariably the first sight most see as they approach the harbor, and often the first sound they hear once they arrive emanates from the hillside just above the Casino.

Rosie Cadman - Longtime Local

The longer you live in Avalon the more you become aware of the unique and wonderful people that are your friends and neighbors. Some of these individuals are especially unique for you know that they must have wings or a halo somewhere, for they truly are angels on earth. Rosie Cadman is such an individual. Her sunny and positive disposition shines through even in the gloomiest of times. Always ready to lend support and comfort, Rosie is a beacon of faith and love that has blessed us for the past seventy years of her living on the island. Rosie was born in Boston and moved out to the west...

Lolo Saldana, an Avalon Treasure

Lolo Saldana is an Avalon treasure. For the past 60 years he has run the local barber shop in the Island Plaza. Lolo’s is an island tradition, a place to gather and chat while waiting for your haircut and learning the latest Avalon news. Every kid in town knows that Lolo is always ready to give them a piece of bubblegum or candy when they stop in to say hello.