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The Catalina Islander
Avalon, California
November 29, 2013     The Catalina Islander
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November 29, 2013

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1891 122 Years Ago by Chuck Liddell In addition to my regular weekly "Time Capsule" segments covering 75, 50, 25 and 10 years ago that month, periodically I will feature a special "Catalina Rediscovered" segment covering Avalon's history for an entire year. I have already covered 1889 and 1890. This one will take us back 122 years to 1891. Based on documents from the Catalina Island Museum's extensive archive of journals, such as the Catherine MacLean Loud manuscripts, contempo- rary newspapers, oral history interviews, and old photographs, "Catalina Rediscovered" will cover Avalon's very beginnings, from 1887-1915. If you have any questions, suggestions, or comments, please send them to me, Chuck Liddell, Liddell@ If you would like to be a Facebook "friend," please submit that request: chuck.liddell2. That is a good way to be kept advised to any histori- cal work that I am doing. Also, if you would like any copies of 1887- 90, I will happily email them to any interested readers. George Shatto must. not have welcomed 1891. He had to have realized that this was going to be his most difficult financial year since he took possession of Catalina Island in July 1887, from the "James Lick Trust," which was being controlled by "The Academy Of Sciences" and "The California Pioneer Society." The scheduled payments for the Island purchase were sup- posidly being paid by the English "International Mining Syndicate," in exchange for land and mining rights on the Island. Shatto may not have known that through a fictious 1889 newspaper announcement in England, insti- tuted by the Banning Brothers, stating that the Island had been purchased for a sum much less than what the English "International Mining Syndicate" still owed, the syndicate had been "dissolved" under British Law and the final L payment of $200,000 was due on April 25, 1892. It is quite certain that Shatto probably didn't know that these payments were being made secret- ly by the three Banning Brothers to the Trust and that, as far as the "Lick Trust" was concerned, the Banning Brothers, at the payment of this last installation in 1892, would be deemed the owners of Santa Catalina Island. For George Shatto, this very provincial Michigan transplant, who prided himself on his "no liquor" policy for even though his real estate agent, Charles Sumner, and now manager of his beloved "Metropole Hotel," had turned Room #6 in the hotel into a "liquor dispensary," what was happening on the back side of the Island, namely "Catalina Harbor," probably would have been the final insult to Shatto's planned "Utopian" Island. Not liquor traf- ficking, but gun trafficking? Captain O'Farrell, with the use of his 60-foot long, 100-ton, black with a broad white stripe around her gunwale, schooner, the "Robert And Minnie," registered in San Francisco, was smuggling arms and ammunition to Chilean "rebels" via "Catalina Harbor!" Since January 1891, when dissen- sions broke out between Chilean President J. M. Balmaced and his Congress, all out "Civil War" had been declared by the beginning of May. The "insurgents" were pay- ing to have these arms delivered to the rock quarries on Catalina on the "Robert And Minnie" and would then be transported on the steamer, "Kittie O'Neil," which was also carrying rock to San Pedro. The Chilean passenger steamer, "Itata," under the com- mand of Capt. Manzeum, had come to the West Coast to pick up "coal and provisions," and pro- ceed on to Chile. Because the "Robert And Minnie," was quite familiar on the coast due to its many trips from Eureka to Southern California, no clearance was deemed necessary through the "Customs House." When the schooner was not using it's normal routing, sus- picions aroused the interest of Deputy C. Downing, and with no other boat, "rowed" for three days until he reached "Catalina Harbor." When the true nature of the cargo was discovered, no immedi- ate action was taken as "It is not in violation of neutrality laws." The "Robert And Minnie" then rendezvoused with the "Italia" off San Clemente Island and made the transfer. If Shatto had only known. Considering his financial situa- tion, he might have wanted to "get in on the action," but that is purely speculative and probably not within his mindset. Much hope for the future had been saddled on the now defunct "International Mining Syndicate" by George Shatto. The local residents and busi- nesses had been growing at a hesitant pace as the future of the Island had never" really been explained, except that it was going to be opened to "tourists" and speculators. Silver ore from the mines at Silver Canyon was still being shipped to the mainland and Northern California as had occured under the syndicate. Building continued. Joseph Stamaford and John MacLean in March built the "Owl's Nest" on E. Whittley for Ed Syng and Taylor from England. In 1889, Rev. John Spence Pitman built his "home," a blue from the solid white ones of the time, on the east side of the church on Metropole. They were to live in this tent for three years. "The Avalon Home" was being built by Capt. Alonzo and Sophia Wheeler to replace their "Wheeler Hotel and Bakery," W. corner of Crescent and Sumner (present location of Lloyd's). To be continued ... To contact Chuck Liddell, e- mail him at Liddell@Catalinas. net. Emait resumes to: Appty online at: Or apply in person at: 1 Dump Road, Avalon 310.510.0250 310.510.8957fx CR&R, Inc. is an equal opportunity employer. Real Estate DRELkense#O1394874 November 29, 2013 338 Sumner Ave- Upgraded/Remodeled 3B0, 2.5 BA, 1204 SF+/- home. View balcony, vacation rental permit, long remlhistory. Price reduced! $689,000 363-A Sumner Ave- 2 BO, 2 BA, Seller molivald, Sold beaulifully furnished plusgolf carl. Price reduced 1oS499,000 337 foamer Ave.- Triplex on a large lot (2600SOFT +/-). Vacation rental permit in front with repeal guests, and lwo one bedroom year-mend rentals in back + yard. Sold"as-is". Huge palenlial for ~ure development. $8/'5,000 1 ! Crescent Avenue- Seaside Sanrluary w/spedaculor ocean views! 4 BR, 4 BA colonial slyle home, ! 19 Olive Street- Incredible view! ..... Home bum in1921. [0t size 2,250 SF +/-, lot 45'x50'. $950,000 218 Clmissa Ave- 2 BR, 1 BA dassit Catalina cottage vmlion renld permit. $549,000 351 Sumner- Spacious duplex, large lot 3,233 SF +/-, unit 1 3BD, 2BA and unit 2 280,1BK $775,000 Villa 2-39 - 1 BD, 18A,755 SF+/- Punoremk views, furnished, gdf-c~, ~ludes la.d ~dmse! Lowest Prked $3/$,000 Villa 5-7 ,- 1BD, I BA, 941 SF+/- Remodeled, Ocenn Views From Every Room Fire dote, Golf Carl, Vacation Rental Potn~ $655,000 Wrigley Terrace Lets- Build ym dream home on 1 of 6 Io15 available! $950,000 to $1,200,000 4 "READY TO BUILD" View Lots Rare Opportoni~ to Own Island Properly! These 4 Pdvatoly-Ownnd affordable vacant p,n ls =e to b= lv Over excavatod, de(omplxtnd, ce,'1~oto from soils engineer, olilifies o~ properly. Fmnedng Arc.labia. Excellent Inveslmnl Oppo .,y. 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Whitdey - S1,395,000 151 OEve St. Lot - $419,000 ! 55 C~e St. Lot - $399,000 344 Cladssa - S599,000 329 Los Lon.t~ Dr - $1,100,000 69 Sol Vista - $429,000 Bahia Vista B-44 - $399,000 V'dla 4-13 - $489,0OO 1780 - $749,000 Vi~ ]-57 - $3~,000 Villa 2.40 - $399,000 Bahia Vista (:-54 - $400,000 Bahia Vista A-8 - $289,000 HC 18-72 - $1,249,000 55 Sol Vista - $489,000 Bahia Vista B-32- $299,000 HC V'dla 2-27 - .$549,000 HC Villa !-53 - $475,000 I~ Villa 1-74 - $550,000