Zane Gray home overlooking
Avalon Bay, c. 1930
photo courtesy of Catalina
Santa Catalina Island has been inhabited for nearly
7,000 years with its original Native American
occupants probably having paddled their plank
canoes from the mainland's shores to settle the
rocky land mass and develop a marine-based culture.
The Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo became
the first European to visit the island in 1542.
During the next several centuries, other Spaniards
stopped at the island, but it was not until the
late 1700s that life was dramatically altered
for the island's native peoples, when Spanish
colonization of the California coast began in
earnest and most of the island's population, by
choice or compulsion, relocated to the mainland
during the following decades.
1846, the Mexican government granted ownership
of the island to a private citizen. Changing hands
a number of times during the late 1800s and early
1900s, the island has belonged to the Wrigley
family since 1919. Settlers on Catalina Island
raised sheep and cattle in the mid 1800s, introducing
a ranching industry that continued in some form
until the mid 1950s. Mining and the occasional
use of the island by the U.S. government during
wartime have also colored its history. Most importantly
for its future, in the late 1880s owner George
Shatto embarked on a campaign to turn Catalina
Island into a tourist destination, planning and
building the town of Avalon as the focal point
of the island and hub of this activity. Successive
owners have nurtured his idea, constructing hotels,
golf courses, and new tourist attractions and
encouraging hunting, fishing, and other outdoor
pursuits, helping to make Catalina Island the
resort it is today.
Built in 1929 and beautifully restored art deco
landmark. The building was not actually a gambling
hall but place of entertainment where Big Bands
performed through the 1930s and 1940s.
1 Casino Way
Built in 1925, the Chimes Tower was presented
as a gift to the town of Avalon by Mrs. Ada Wrigley.
Located up and across from the Zane Grey Pueblo
Hotel, the chimes have been tolling on the quarter
of the hour between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm since
courtesy of County of Los Angeles Public Library