Newspaper Archive of
The Catalina Islander
Avalon, California
January 27, 2006     The Catalina Islander
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January 27, 2006

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Friday, January 27, 2006 ~ OATAUNA ISLANDER Page 7 Photos courtesy Cabill~i lilIMl l~htsiwm Otis and Dorothy Shepard in Avalon. Continued from page I phere of the landscape, along with Shepard designed kiosks placed in several locations. It is said that Shepard super- vised much of the makeover including the placement of each tree and worked side-by-side with the stonemasons and laborers in the placement of the stones and bricks in the walkways. Adding to the atmosphere, two fountains were constructed on Avenida de la Crescent. Wrigley Fountain was placed in the heart of Crescent at the foot of Sumner, and Sombrero Fountain was con- structed at the base of Whittley near the E1 Encanto. The early California theme is seen in the Mission-style structures built at the entrance to Via Casino Way and to the entrance to the former Steamer Pier. In the first year, Avalon's front street, Crescent Avenue became a shady, comfortable boardwalk where visitors could stroll and sit along the beach and spread a blanket and relax on the sand. Soon thereafter, local merchants warmed to the new early California look and the new Crescent Avenue. With the free advise of Dorothy and Shep, storefronts sport- ed new facades and s~gt!~e engaging the playful Catalina Cali-" fornia theme. The Serpentine Wall, also designed by the Shepard's, was added, extending from South beach to the Green Pleasure Pier. It divided the beach from the stone and brick walkway. In addition to hav- ing a hands-on part in the redevelopment of Crescent Avenue, the husband and wife team kept busy designing visually fun signs for storefronts and city streets, travel brochures and posters for Catalina Island. They also designed uni- forms for couriers, tour-bus driv- ers, stevedores on the steamer ships, hotel clerks and other front- end employees of the Island Com- pany. Dorothy applied her artistic tal- "ent in many other areas. She redecorated St. Catherine Hotel, (located at Descanso Beach and razed in 1966), the lobby of the Hotel Atwater, the lounge areas of the steamer ship, S.S. Avalon. She designed the 100 foot long fish mural in the Marine Bar in the Casino Ballroom. Story also has it that she designed the fish murals in the Marlin Club and that legendary Island artist, Bud Upton, painted the murals based on Dorothy's design. Bud was a key figure in the formation of the Catalina Art Association and its first president. Bud also worked for a time at Foster & Klieser in the mid 1920s. The wonderful thing about Avalon's front street is that most of its original features created by Otis and Dorothy Shepard still exist today. The Serpentine wall still ambles down the promenade (you'll find the serpent's head at the base of the green Pleasure Pier). Wrigley Fountain still anchors the heart of Crescent Avenue, and Sombrero Foun- tain - now a planter - is still a pop- ular photo spot. Many of the olive and palm trees still thrive. And you can still find out what movie is playing at the Avalon Theater by going to one of the kiosks located near Step Beach or at the foot of the Green Pleasure Pier. You can take a tour of the Casino building or stop in the Marlin Club and see Dorothy's murals. And, if you are observant enough, you can still spot one of their many unique signs still hanging around town. Next time you walk down Front Street, take the time to appreciate the subtle artistic endeavors creat- ed more than 60 years ago by two exceptionally versatile and talent- ed artists. Catalina Island brochures and Iogos designed by Otis Shepard for the Santa Catalina Island Company. to, t~