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The Catalina Islander
Avalon, California
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April 25, 2014     The Catalina Islander
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April 25, 2014
 

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1892--Part 2 Catalina Revisited 122 years ago by Chuck Liddell Year brings dance pavilion project and optimism .to Avalon In 1892, not having any idea of the cost of their planned dance pavilion project, the Bannings simply knew that they had to have it. This new structure came with its own set of problems. The foundation lumber was specially ordered at exactly 12-foot x 16- foot, but when it arrived, John MacLean, who had help build the Metropole and Congregational Church observed that the wood was too short for the foundation, but too long for firewood. He was so concerned about the problems that the architect's father came over to help work out some of the issues. Harry Elms was the foreman of this project, along with MacLean, Billy Johnson, Bill Codit, AI Carraher, Fred Envoldsen, Charlie Feige, and many others. For the first time since Shatto had taken possession of the Island in 1887, the locals felt a new surge of optimism about the future of Avalon. Arthur Bowring Chappell opened up the new Bath House at the north end of the harbor. A bathing suit and towel rented for 25 cents. Neither bath nor shower was included in this price. The commercial fishing indus- try had boomed and Catalina was included along with other main- land cities as the principle points for the supply of fish for Los Angeles. The excitement spread to the mainland. Los Angeles newspapers were now advertising daily about the changes on the Island, along with the anticipation of the new towns being established in Southern California which, of course, would add to the tourist pool. In April, Capt John Everett Mathewson, born July 3, 1867, in Brookfield, Massachusetts, arrive in Avalon and immediately started building in his Avalon Boat Shop, at the top of Whittley. He had been trained in civil engi- neering at the Polytechnic Institute and his boat building expertise was honed in Brookfield, but per- fected in Seattle, Washington and Los Angeles. He received $125/boat, which went a long way, considering that he subsisted on 5 cent breakfasts of mush and milk and spent 10 cents for dinner and supper. The construction of the Glenmore Hotel, 120 Sumner, commenced in April, about the time that the first known white boy was born next door, west at the home of Alexander "Sandy" and Edna MacDonnell, Douglas Avalon MacDonell on April 17. So considerate was the proprietor of the "Glenmore" that all building ceased for three days to give the new child and mother a chance to rest and recuperate. Another first occurred on April 28, when the Congregational Church conducted it's first wed- ding by uniting Mrs. Vina Cotton to Mr. G. Hughes. In April and May, over 300 tents were erected and the Falcon was now making three round trips a week, under Captain Simmie. A flagpole had been erected on the east shore of Crescent Avenue by Holly Hill House owner Peter Gano, which added a festive air to the beach. Beginning June 23, the steamer Hermosa, with its able Captain E E. Dornfield, joined the Falcon. Before the July 4 boat races, the beach had been illuminated on several evenings before the holiday and on July 3, the San Diego and La Paloma brought over the mem- bers of the new Catalina Yacht Club for their "Ball'? which was held in the Metropole Hotel at the same time that the glass-r0ofed Pavilion was officially opened. Mr. Kammermeyer directed the A view of Avalon Bay early in Avalon's history. orchestra that could be heard all over the harbor. Although officially organized a few months before, the club had celebrated its opening day on May 30 in Los Angeles, as that was where most of its members lived there. The summer days had powered launches taking visitors to points up and down the Catalina coast while evenings provided moon- light parties on the bay. Signor Dion Romandy led his orches- tra with his famed violin nightly at the Metropole from 3:30 p.m. until midnight. These festivities were great- ly hampered when the wife and infant of one of the chefs, Mr. Chifflet at the Metropole, burned to death. Mary and her infant lived in a tent behind the "Met?' Her long hair caught on fire as she was lighting her store. Coroner Weldon and Dr. Bryant come from Los Angeles. Both vic- Public domain image tims were buried in Avalon's only cemetery. In early July, Avalon's second newspaper appeared, "The Avalon Avalanche." It was four pages long, was printed and published every Tuesday at 5 cents per copy. To be continued--- If you have any questions, suggestions, or comments, please send them to me, Chuck Liddell, ch uckliddell, catalina @ gmail. com. If you would like to be a Facebook "friend," please sub- mit that request: www.facebook. com/chuck.liddell2. That is a good way to be kept advised to any historical work that I am doing. Also, if you would like any copies of 1887-91, I will hap- pily email them to any interested readers. I am feverishly working on my new book, about growing up on Catalina, and it should be out late spring, and hopefully no later than summer. .COM THE CATAUNA ISLANDER Friday, April 25, 2014 i 9