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The Catalina Islander
Avalon, California
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March 30, 2012     The Catalina Islander
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March 30, 2012
 

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Watson cadets was done in very military From page 1 fashion and cleanliness and order was the rule. thought better of it and quit trying. Long-time Avalon resident and Fib: The Hotel St. Catherine former Maritime Service trainee Was Ruined By The Merchant Dick Kellogg was there for several Marines ' ' . months during the war. "I'd liketo The beautiful Hotel St. Cathe- say that that really is not the case" rine in DescansoCanyon he said, referring to his was a Catalina icon for fellow trainees as being many decades, begin- the culprits. "When I was ning with its construc- there, we had to take very tionin 1918. Theproject good care of the hotel. was initiated by the then- We had inspection ev- owners of the Island, ery Saturday morning-- the Banning family, in wfiite glove inspection. a somewhat desperate J im Watlu We really had to clean bid to help the Island's Columnist the place up and keep it economy following the straight. "After the train- devastating 1915 fire. ~, ees left, that hotel ran for 20 years While the opening of the hotel before they tore it down" he said. was indeed a prestigious shot in "Now, I don't know where this tale the arm for the Island, ultimately it ever started, but I just wanted to say failed to;revive the Island's tourist that I don't believe.it." trade in the way the Bannings had It was in the post-war years hoped and in" 1919 they turned the that many of the hotel's rooms keys to the Island over to William were reconfigured for monthly Wrigley Jr ushering in a new era tenants; a situation that--as any in Catalina's history. Over the next hotel manager will tell you--can 25 years, the St. Catherine played greatly speed up wear and tear on a host to a number of celebrities and building. "They had actually used other well-to-dos that came to en- it for some housing" said Rudy joy Catalina's fun and sun. Piltch, adding that rooms were re- The fib surrounding the demise configured and kitchens added for of the hotel begins with the World month-to-month rentals. "But it War "II when the United States was just getting very worn and not Maritime Service set up a training the kind of place people were go- station in Avalon, With tourism to ing to want to stay in." the island suspended,for the d ura- " Rtidy remembers the day in Feb- tion of the war, .the hotels around Avalon became::living quarters fork the Maritime Service trainees and a myth was born. Because of the St. Catherine's extensive kitchen and pantry=areas, it was decided to house and train cadets mostly from the Maritime Service's Stewards Deparmaent, th/it-c~i~Ir'6"0T-a Ship's persoimel charged with cooking, cleaning arid general shipboard housekeeping, i The St. Catherine was final- ly demolished in 1966 and this week's Catalina fib holds that !it was the havoc wreaked by those Maritime Service trainees durir~g the war that. 20 years later, re- suited in the decision to raze the old beauty. Now, having spent some time in the Merchant Marine myself, I'ye always been a little irked at the ac- cusation that my fellow shipmates could be responsible for the de- struction of such a beautiful hotel. Not that the implication is entirely unjustified Merchant Marines aren't exactly the kind of people you want to invite en masse to your baby shower. But the-wartime training of the Maritime Service ruary 1966 when he watched as a crane complete with wrecking ball began demolishing the building. "Before they brought the wreck- ers in they did allow a lot of people from Avalon to come out and pick out What they Wanted" he said. In addition to the post-war wear 310.510,0250 311).510.8957fx wfolsen@gmail.com 310-510-0843 PAID POLITICAL ADVERTI'SEMENT and tear, the decision to raze the building had just as much to do with the economics of the times and the changing travel tastes of the American public. With few exceptions, palatial hotels like the St. Catherine just weren't as popular as they had been before the war. The average American tourist couldn't afford to stay in such a place and those who could afford it now had a variety of new and more exotic destinations they could choose over Catalina. Advances in aviation technolo- gy, for example, now gave the "jet set" the opportunity to fly to places like Honolulu or the previously- unknown Mexican fishing village of Puerto Vallarta; a destination popularized by the 1964 academy award-winning film "Night of the Iguana" stam'ng Richard Burton and Ava Gardner. By the1960s, people wanted something new, not a reminder and a remainder (no matter how classy) of bygone ages. Next Week: Fibs-Defibulated, Part 2 Got a weird story about Catalina? Send it to us at manager@cinews, us or mail "~it to Mysterious Island, c/o Catalina Islander, PO Box 428, Avalon, CA 90704 CATALINA COUPLES: AMIR & STEPHANIE NOORI Please send us your favorite photo of yourself or of another local Catalina couple to be included in the Catalina Islander. They can be young or old; in special places, special occasions or just at home. Email your high resolution photo to ed@cinews us. NOTICE OF NOMINEES FOR PUBLIC OFFICE NOTICE S HEREBY GIVEN that the following persons have been nominated for the offices designated to be filled at.the General Municipal Election to be held in the City of Avalon on Tuesday, April 10, 2012. For Mayor: (Vote for one) Robert Kennedy Ralph J. Morrow, Jr. For Members of the Council: (Vote for no more than two) Tim Winslow W.E (Oley) Olsen Susan Rikalo Richard Hernand.ez Scott Nelson Denise A. Radde, City Clerk, Elections Official Dated: March 30, 2012 Anuncio de los Candidatos a Cargos Pciblicos Presente se da noticia que los siguientes candidatos han sido propu- estos para los cargos designados por cubrir en la Elecci6n Municipal General que se celebrar~ en la Ciudad de Avalon Martes, 10 de Abril de 2012. Alcalde: (Vota por uno) Robert Kennedy Ralph J. Morrow, Jr. Miembros del Consejo: Tim Winslow W.E (Oley} Olsen Susan Rikalo Richard Hernandez Scott Nelson (votar por no mas tie dos) Denise A. Radde, Secretaria Municipal Temporal, Oficial de Eleccion Fechada: el 30 de Marzo, 2012 Visit your doctor -- not just any doctor. With three full-time physicians and a nurse practitioner dedicated to the island and its patients, we invite you to have an on-going relationship with a provider who knows you and your medical needs. Monte Mellon, MD Tracey Norton, DO Laura Ulibarri, MD Diane Chamberlin, NP CONVENIENT PROFESSIONAL COMPASSIONATE Catalina Island Medical Center 24 Hour Emergency Care Radiology, laboratory & physical therapy Skilled nursing facility (31o) 51o-o7oo Provider appointments M-F 8 am-5 pm Mon. & Wed. 8 am-7 pm (31o) 51o-oo96 CIMedicalCenter.org Island MediEal Center I THE CATAUNA ISLANDER Friday, March 30, 201219