[1] Archeological evidence shows Pimugnan settlement beginning in 7000 BCE. Q: How did the Conservancy come to be? Santa Catalina Island (Tongva: Pimuu'nga or Pimu; Spanish: Isla Santa Catalina) is a rocky island off the coast of Southern California in the Gulf of Santa Catalina. [15] Though early maps labeled the town Shatto, Shatto's sister-in-law Etta Whitney came up with the permanent name of Avalon. [18] Wrigley devoted himself to preserving and promoting the island, investing millions in needed infrastructure and attractions. [2] During World War II, the island was closed to tourists and used for military training facilities. By the summer of 1883, there were thirty tents and three wooden buildings at Timms' Landing.[13]. [20], One of Wrigley's first priorities was to create a new and improved dance pavilion for the island's tourists. The settlement in Avalon was then referred to as Timms' Landing in his honor. View 24 homes for sale in Avalon, CA at a median listing price of $1,034,250. These middens can today be identified by mounds of crumbled abalone shells. [3][4], Archaeologists have learned much about these tribes from middens, ancient dumps where they tossed everything they no longer needed. Wood and her husband, Robert Wagner, were vacationing aboard their motor yacht, Splendour, along with their guest, Christopher Walken, and Splendour's captain, Dennis Davern. Vizcaino renamed the island in the saint's honor. [2] The Pimugnans were renowned for their mining, working and trade of soapstone which was found in great quantities and varieties on the island. It served as a ballroom and Avalon's first high-school. [2], Governor Pío Pico made a Mexican land grant of the Island of Santa Catalina to Thomas M. Robbins in 1846, as Rancho Santa Catalina. After the cease and desist order, the city invested an additional $5.7 million on sewer main improvements and inspection and tracking systems. [35][36], In 2014, the Santa Catalina Island Company was working on a number of redevelopment and remodeling projects, including a spa, aquatic facility, community center, new hotel, and 120 new homes. They did this by paving the first dirt roads into the island's interior, where they built hunting lodges and led stagecoach tours, and by making Avalon's surrounding areas (Lovers Cove, Sugarloaf Point and Descanso Beach) accessible to tourists. Samuel Prentiss, Catalina's first non-native permanent resident, was told of a buried gold treasure. When it was complete in 1889, he asked the woman he loved to join him. Prior to the modern era, the island was inhabited by people of the Gabrielino/Tongva tribe, who, having had villages near present-day San Pedro and Playa del Rey, regularly traveled back and forth to Catalina for trade. Pirates found that the island's abundance of hidden coves, as well as its short distance to the mainland and its small population, made it suitable for smuggling activities. This gave the Conservancy control of nearly 90 percent of the island. No warranties, expressed or implied, are provided for the business data on this site, its use, or its interpretation. With some adjustments, it was renamed the SS Avalon. That same year, news of Yount's promising sample began to circulate. The first Europeans to arrive on Catalina claimed it for the Spanish Empire. They had also just built a luxurious new boat, the Hermosa, to bring tourists to the Island. Since the 1970s, most of the island has been administered by the Catalina Island Conservancy. By the 1830s, the island's entire native population were either dead or had migrated to the mainland to work in the missions or as ranch hands for the many private landowners. After 24 days a municipal judge visited the camp to ask them to leave. [9], In the fall of 1857 the whaler Charles Melville Scammon, in the brig Boston, rendezvoused with his schooner-tender Marin in the "snug harbor" of Catalina (some have suggested Avalon Bay but it's more likely Catalina Harbor). Thomas M. Robbins (1801–1854) a sea captain who came to California in 1823, married the daughter of Carlos Antonio Carrillo. As a result of these efforts, the 2014 report showed that water quality had improved, and Avalon Beach was removed from the list of the most polluted beaches. Catalina Island has a long and interesting history dating back to the Spanish Empire. A Small Town That Feels a World Away. He also foresaw the design of another steamship, the SS Catalina which was launched on the morning of May 3, 1924. Their barracks stand as the oldest structure on the island and are currently the home of the Isthmus Yacht Club. A report in June 2011 by the Natural Resources Defense Council listed Avalon as having one of the 10 most chronically polluted beaches in the United States. He died in 1854 after spending 30 years unsuccessfully digging for it. Just as the Bannings were anticipating the construction of a new, Hotel Saint Catherine, their efforts were set back on November 29, 1915, when a fire burned half of Avalon's buildings, including six hotels and several clubs. The highest point on the island is Mount Orizaba (2,097 ft (639 m)). [29], In May 2007, Catalina experienced the 2007 Avalon Fire. These steamships would deliver passengers to Catalina for many years. [5]:39-40 The Banning brothers fulfilled Shatto's dream of making Avalon a resort community with the construction of numerous tourist facilities. Peter Gano, the engineer who built Catalina's first freshwater system, built it by himself, hauling material he had brought on his boat up the hill with the help of an old circus horse, Mercury. The pollution was caused by the city's sewer system, made of century-old clay and metal pipes. The Tongva called the island Pimu or Pimugna and referred to themselves as the Pimugnans or Pimuvit. The Pimugnans had settlements all over the island at one time or another, with their biggest villages being at the Isthmus and at present-day Avalon, Shark/Little Harbor, and Emerald Bay. It is estimated that there are over 2,000 middens on Catalina Island, only half of which have been discovered. The history of human activity on Santa Catalina Island, California begins with the Native Americans who called the island Pimugna or Pimu and referred to themselves as Pimugnans or Pimuvit. However, it lacked the ships to enforce this prohibition, and the island served as home or base of operation for many visitors. The island was eventually bought by William Wrigley (of Wrigley chewing gum fame) in 1919, who immediately set out on investing in the island to make Catalina a tourist destination. [30][31] In May 2011, another wildfire started near the Isthmus Yacht Club and was fought by 120 firefighters transported by barge from Los Angeles. [10][11][12], Three otter hunters, George Yount, Samuel Prentiss, and Stephen Bouchette, are responsible for the Island's short-lived gold rush. It protects 88 percent of Catalina Island, including more than 62 miles of unspoiled beaches and secluded coves—the longest publicly accessible stretch of undeveloped coastline left in Southern California. [28], Actress Natalie Wood drowned in the waters near the settlement of Two Harbors under questionable circumstances over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in 1981. Local Mexican-Americans provided them with food after they used up their own supplies. Greatly due to the assistance of 200 Los Angeles County fire fighters transported by U.S. Marine Corps helicopters and U.S Navy hovercraft, only a few structures were destroyed, yet 4,750 acres (19.2 km2) of wildland burned.