In light of Women’s History Month, the Catalina Island Company is highlighting Ada Wrigley (the namesake of Mt Ada), Helen Atwater Wrigley (the namesake of Hotel Atwater), and the role female inclusion played in the Wrigley family’s history.
Ada Wrigley was the beloved wife of William Wrigley Jr. who founded Catalina Island Company. After first visiting Catalina Island in 1919, Ada casually told her husband, “I should like to live here,” and the rest is history. Mt Ada was originally designed drawing inspiration from Ada Wrigley’s vision, which included a billiard chamber, a refrigerator room, and a Turkish bath. What’s perhaps the most iconic is Ada’s vision for the exterior - she called for a white house on a hill with green window awnings. Even today, Mt Ada’s exterior perfectly matches Ada Wrigley’s wish.
Helen Blanche Atwater Wrigley was the daughter-in-law of William Wrigley, Jr. Wrigley was very involved in the Catalina Island Conservancy, and elements of her taste and design are weaved throughout the Hotel Atwater. Most noticeably, Helen’s beloved harp, among other Wrigley family historical pieces, are on display in the hotel lobby. Helen Wrigley also enjoyed a glass of bubbly every night, hence the complementary splits of sparkling wine in each room.
William Wrigley Jr. himself was always a proponent of female inclusion, and initially demonstrated it during his ownership of the Chicago Cubs. In June of 1919, the Chicago Cubs hosted its first Ladies’ Day, offering women aged 14 and up free admission to Friday home games. In 1925, William Wrigley, Jr. began airing the baseball games on radio so that women could tune in from any location. By 1930, Ladies’ Day attendance was so high, the club created standing room sections along the field. Ladies’ Day soon expanded across the nation to other clubs, and became a true symbol of equality.
This month, and each day, we appreciate the females who have lived, worked, visited, and supported Catalina Island. Next time you visit Catalina Island, explore Hotel Atwater’s beautiful lobby, and look for Mt Ada on the Avalon hillside – both are sites to behold.