Early pencil sketches of Avalon Bay on Catalina Island, by an early tourist.
Two very early pencil sketches of Avalon Bay by an early tourist, showing Catalina shortly after it first became a tourist destination.
We surmise from our reserach that the sketches were done between 1890 and 1892, shortly before or after George Shatto's efforts to develop the island failed or at the very beginning of the period after the island was purchased by the Banning Brothers.
George Shatto purchased Catalina Island in 1887. Shortly thereafter, he built the Hotel Metropole and Catalina's first pier. His efforts were unsuccessful and he lost the property to the estate of James Lick, who in turn sold the property to the Banning Brothers in 1891. Over the next 25 years, the Banning Brothers built a dance pavillion in the center of the town and made improvements to the Hotel Metropole, steamer wharf and built an aquarium, bath house, the Pilgrim club and erected a sea wall.
The views identify a boat house, which was not present on photos from circa 1889, but appeared in several photographs dated 1890. There is no sign of the windmill which was to the right of the Hotel Metropole in photographs from the early 1890s. Other photographs from the mid 1890s show significantly more beach front construction, leading us to the conclusion that the images were taken at or shortly before the time of the Banning Brothers purchase of the island.
Perhaps the most curious item in the image is the "Children's Swing."