Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Catalina in Photographs

This is a companion piece to my last post, Catalina in Postcards. All of these images are dated, 8-24. The picture of the town, docks, and beach is captioned, "AVALON BAY CATALINA ISLAND." In my other post, there are some nice views of the Casino. Looking to the upper right center of the photo there is a different building at that site. The current casino was built to replace the original seen in this photo. The new casino was built in 1929, the original was torn down in Feb. of 1928. The original was not only the island's dance hall but it's high school as well. The photo of the gentleman in the straw hat is captioned, "STEAMER CABRILLO AT ISTHMUS (AND ME)" The isthmus is a narrow part of the island. The Cabrillo was a steamer built by the Banning Brothers, owners of the island from 1891 to 1919. They also owned the Wilmington Transit Company of Red Car fame. Purchased as a tourist resort, they were forced to sell to William Wrigley Jr. in 1919. A devastating fire in 1915 that destroyed over half of Avalon, including most of thee tourist facilities coupled with a reduction of tourism during World War 1 and the great flu pandemic that followed left the Bannings short of funds. The grass huts image is captioned, "MOVIE SET HAWAIIAN VILLAGE AT ISTHMUS." There is no way to identify the movie. The island was used for dozens of films, and 1924 doesn't narrow things down enough. The docked steamer shot isn't captioned, but take a close look at the bow of the ship and it can be identified as the S.S. Avalon. The Avalon was originally the S.S. Virginia and was used as a ferry between Chicago and Milwaukee. It was requisitioned by the military in World War 1. After the war it was sold to William Wrigley and sailed through the Panama Canal for use as an island ferry. It arrived at Avalon, for the first time, on April 5, 1920. The Avalon was a single funnel ship. Click on the image to enlarge it, and a bit of the bow of a second ship can be seen behind the Avalon. The lady in the swimsuit, "ON THE BEACH AVALON." And the picture of the same lady in a dress, "LAST DAY AT AVALON." There is more info about Catalina Island in my last post.

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