View of it now........
Was up at my mom's last weekend and we were going through OLD photo albums passed down in the family. I ran across this photo and I just scanned it. Not sure when this was, but it sure was a long time ago!!! I'm thinking pre 1930?
Added the picture back into the thread.......
Last edited by PhantomChaos; 12-03-2005 at 12:37 PM.
View of it now........
Found this on the web......1885.
Go to bed...enough OSO for the day!!!!!
Looking at the style of the boats and considering the photo technology, I'd say late 20's to early 30's.
Or, you could just ask some of the, err..."senior" members on this board. They were probably there before your pic.
Pompano Beach, FLA
It looks more recent than 1915 (year of the fire, see history at ecatalina.com virtual musieum), and before the Casino was built (1928).
My how times have changed! Pretty neat comparison. I love old photos. I think they are REALLY COOL! When I am at my parents I like to look through old photos. Thanks for posting Norty.
Last edited by Shane; 05-05-2004 at 07:14 AM.
Looks a lot like the 1908 photo at ecatalina, check under "The Banning Brothers"
Phantom, I wonder about your 1885 photo being actually later, as it is a LOT more built up than the 1887 and 1889 photos I saw.
Damn, they flattened out those two tits at the end of the island to build that round building. That must have been completed before the tree huggers moved in.
People have been drawn to Santa Catalina Island for thousands of years, to work, play, seek their fortunes and raise their families. The island has seen Native Americans, explorers, ranchers and miners, sea otter hunters, soldiers, and entrepreneurs, sport fishermen and tourists, to name just a few. They have all have been touched by the charm and mystery that are Catalina.
Archaeologists tell us that the island was inhabited as early as 7,000 years ago. Very little is known about these first peoples, or the groups that followed them. We do know that by the time navigator Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo claimed the island for Spain in 1542, a group that came to be known as Gabrielino had been well established on the Island for about 500 years. They were linguistically related to the Uto-Aztecans who had migrated from the Great Basin of Nevada, Utah and California to what are now Los Angeles and Orange counties, as well as California's southern Channel Islands. Catalina Island Gabrielino had a distinct language and culture. They called the Island Pimu and themselves Pimungan's (or Pimuvit's). They lived a hunter-gatherer life style, utilizing the island's abundant ocean and plant resources. Using large, well-made plank canoes called ti'at's, they maintained social and trade networks with the mainland and neighboring Channel Islands. They developed a steatite industry, using stone tools to manufacture bowls and other items for personal use and trade. Their main villages were located where canyons meet the coast, known today as Avalon, Little Harbor, White's Landing and Empire Landing, as well as at the Island isthmus of Two Harbors. Ship's logs give the first written accounts of some of these places.
In 1602 explorer Sebastian Viscaino once again claimed the Island for the King of Spain. Having sighted it on the eve of Saint Catherine's Feast Day, he named the island Santa Catalina in her honor. The Portola expedition also claimed the island for Spain in 1769. The Spanish began to step up their efforts to colonize California by establishing a chain of missions up and down California. Trading with foreigners was prohibited by law and Catalina Island proved a safe place for smugglers. Sea otter skins were highly sought after for the China trade and the otters were hunted to extinction in Catalina waters. In 1805 an American sea captain and trader named William Shaler beached his ship on the island for repairs and wrote that the Indians were friendly and helped him.
Increasing contact with foreigners brought new diseases to which Native Americans had little immunity. With the advent of the Mission system, trade patterns were severely disrupted. Many of the mainland and Island Gabrielino were forcibly removed from their native lands to Spanish missions, while others went voluntarily. By the 1820's there were probably no Pimungans left on the Island. Those associated with the San Gabriel Mission came to be known as Gabrielino. Today there are no fluent speakers of the Gabrielino language, and modern day descendents are working to preserve their cultural heritage.
Mexico fought against Spanish rule and gained independence in 1821. Instead of prohibiting trade with other countries they charged a tariff on incoming goods. Catalina and California were now under Mexican jurisdiction and the secluded island continued to be a popular place to hide from the authorities. The Mission system declined and was secularized in 1834. The Mexican government gave away huge tracts of mission lands to favored individuals. In 1839, a naturalized Mexican citizen named Thomas Robbins made his first petition to Mexican governor Pio Pico to be granted the island of Santa Catalina (no mission had ever been built on the Island). Governor Pio Pico finally granted his wish on July 4, 1846, just days before the Americans went to war with Mexico, invading Monterey Bay in Northern California. By 1848, the Mexican-American war was over and Catalina came under American rule. California became a state two years later. Robbins had established a small rancho at the island's isthmus. He moved to Santa Barbara and subsequently sold the Island. Catalina changed hands many times. Meanwhile, squatters settled in, running sheep and cattle, chopping and selling firewood to the mainland, and fishing. Some of the island's coves still bear their names, such as Ben Weston Beach, Howland's Landing, and Gallagher's Cove.
Miners and Union Soldiers
The discovery of gold in northern California in 1848 drew thousands to California. As it became more difficult to find gold, prospectors headed south, and some of them made it to Catalina in a short-lived flurry of mining activity. Instead of gold, they found galena, an ore of silver, lead and zinc. In 1864, Union soldiers were dispatched to the Island to see if it would be suitable for a reservation for Indians from Humboldt County. All miners without substantial claims were forced to leave the island. Within a year the idea was abandoned and the soldiers left. The barracks that they built at the isthmus are still standing. Santos Bouchette, the miner with the largest operation worked his claim until 1876, then sailed off with his French bride. He closed up the entrances to his mines, which were never found again.
The Birth of Avalon
From 1858 to 1867 a number of different people shared ownership of the island. By 1867, millionaire James Lick of San Francisco gained full ownership and evicted all the squatters from the island. Ranchers had to pay him for the right to graze sheep and cattle on the island. When he died in 1876, his trustees took over the estate and in 1887 sold the island to George Shatto, a young businessman who had recently come to Los Angeles from Michigan . Shatto decided to develop the Island as a tourist resort, establishing a town in a beautiful sheltered valley with wide, crescent shaped harbor on the northeast side of the island. He enlarged the existing wharf to accommodate larger steamers, and built the Hotel Metropole. He had the town surveyed, and sold the first lots. Shatto's sister-in-law Etta Whitney chose the name Avalon for the town. It came from the epic poem Idylls of the King by Tennyson. As King Arthur lay dying he said that he would be going to Avalon, the beautiful island valley where he would heal himself of his grievous wound.
The Banning Years
Shatto proved unable to make his mortgage payments. The island reverted to the Lick Trustees. In 1892, they sold the Island to the Banning brothers. Their father Phineas Banning was a visionary who forged transportation and communication networks in Southern California. He was instrumental in the development of Los Angeles Harbor and the founder of Wilmington. His sons William, Joseph, and Hancock, assumed responsibility for many of their father's business interests. They took over the Wilmington Transportation Company in 1884, which provided more and more steamers to transport people to Catalina. Two years after purchasing the island they established the Santa Catalina Island Company and placed the land holdings that they had acquired in 1892 into the newly formed corporation. The Bannings built roads in the Island's interior, and installed the first telephone and wireless telegraph systems. They also built several tourist attractions to insure Avalon's continued success as a resort town, including two dance pavilions, a band stand, an aquarium, a Greek amphitheater, an inclined railway to take people from Avalon to Lover's Cove, and a golf course. They offered fishing excursions, sight-seeing by stagecoach, and glass bottomed boat trips. Around the turn of the century the island became world-renowned for sport fishing. Elevating fishing to a sport was a new idea, promoted in large part as a conservation effort by writer and naturalist Charles Frederick Holder, who popularized the use of light tackle. He founded the Tuna Club, which established strict rules for anglers.
In 1913, Avalon became an incorporated city. In November of 1915, a devastating fire burned out of control for three days, destroying about a third of the town, including the Hotel Metropole. The Banning brothers built the elegant Hotel Saint Catherine to replace it, but were unable to recover their financial losses. In 1919, they sold the Island to an enthusiastic entrepreneur named William Wrigley Jr. and a new chapter began in the Island's history.
William Wrigley Jr.
William Wrigley Jr. bought the island sight unseen but as soon as he and his wife Ada saw it, they fell in love with its beauty and Wrigley quickly bought out his partners. He was already a successful businessman, having made a fortune with Wrigley chewing gum. Now he turned the same energy to improving the island. He enlarged the fleet of cross-channel steamers, adding the S. S. Avalon, as well as the S. S. Catalina which he built specifically for the Catalina run. He constructed a power plant, improved the sewer system, and gave the island a source of fresh water by building reservoirs in the island's interior. In 1920 he built the Hotel Atwater and in 1928 built the Bird Park with thousands of exotic birds on display to the public. The largest aviary was constructed from the steel structure of the Sugarloaf dance pavilion, which was torn down to make way for the fabulous Casino, built to house a state-of-the art theatre and ballroom. At that time the word Casino was used generally to mean "a place of entertainment." At a cost of $2 million, the Casino took 14 months to build and opened in 1929.
Wrigley recognized the island's potential for providing building supplies, as well as a source of employment for Island residents. He established Catalina Clay Products to use local clay for making pavers and roofing tiles, eventually branching out into decorative tile, pottery, and dinnerware. He started a foundry and a furniture factory. The Island's rock quarries provided crushed rock for local use and shipping to the mainland. In the late 1920's full scale mining operations were conducted to extract silver, lead, and zinc from several places on the island.
He also promoted the island through well-publicized events such as the 1927 Wrigley Ocean Marathon swim and world-class golf tournaments on a renovated 18-hole course. He owned the Chicago Cubs and brought them to the island for spring training.
Philip K. Wrigley
When William Wrigley Jr. passed away in 1932, his son Philip K. Wrigley continued as president of the Santa Catalina Island Company, a role he had assumed in 1925. He enlisted the help of artists Otis and Dorothy Shepard to give an Early California ambiance to Avalon. Design elements included extensive use of tile, fountains, and wrought iron, bell towers, a serpentine wall, soft lighting, and palm and olive trees. Wandering troubadours serenaded boat passengers. In 1931 Philip designed an amphibious airport at Hamilton Cove. The 30's saw the rise of the Big Band era. The Casino was open every night for dancing. The island became a popular place for movies to be filmed, and the rich and famous came to play on the island. These golden years faded with the advent of WWII. The island was closed to tourists and several branches of the military trained on the island including the Merchant Marine, Army Signal Corp, OSS, and Coast Guard. When the island reopened after the war, the use of wartime amphibious planes such as the Grumman Goose marked a new era in travel to the Island. Eventually, the steamers and flying boats would give way to the helicopters and smaller, faster boats that are used today.
Catalina Island Conservancy
The Wrigley family held fast to the idea that the island should be preserved rather than developed extensively. In 1975 they donated 88% of the island to the Catalina Island Conservancy, a nonprofit corporation with a mission to "preserve and restore Catalina to its natural state in perpetuity so that future generations can continue to enjoy this unique part of California's heritage." The Santa Catalina Island Company still owns 11% of the Island and 1% is independently owned. Most of the island will always remain natural wilderness, surrounded by an unspoiled wilderness of ocean, beautiful treasures for us all.
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