The Town

The sons of Phineas Banning bought the island of Catalina from James Lick in 1891. Planning to turn it into a resort island, they developed the town of Avalon and started building roads into the interior of the island which soon ran stagecoach tours. And in 1909 they built the pier that you can still see. Unfortunately, a fire broke out in 1915 burning down half of the town. They finally sold to William Wrigley, Jr. in 1919.

Wrigley invested millions in the town bringing in the Chicago Cubs for their spring training and building the Casino in 1929. This beautiful Casino which jets out upon a point into the ocean, for decades, has been the site for many famous singers to “croon” to tourists as they tripped across the world’s largest circular ballroom.

Currently, the Catalina Island Conservancy owns 88% of the island, helping to “be a responsible steward of our lands through a balance of conservation, education and recreation.”

The Monument

This edifice was built as a memorial to William Wrigley Jr. (1861-1932), owner of the world’s largest chewing-gum manufacturer. (Remember Double-Mint in the green packages, Spearmint in the white, and Juicy-Fruit in the yellow packages?)

The structure was built in 1933-34 by Bennett, Parsons, and Frost. It is covered in native blue flagstone rock and the famous tiles made by the Catalina Pottery plant (1927-37).

Wrigley was interred here for a short time before being relocated to Pasadena, CA.

The Garden

Originally started in 1935 by Ada Wrigley, the garden was expanded in 1969 to 38 acres. It now showcases California endemic plants—some of which are found nowhere else in the world.

Of course, some of these are oaks. (The quotes are references to locations courtesy of the Conservancy).

And while I was there this summer I took some photos to share with you:

** Island Oak (Quercus tomentella)

            “Found in several groves in the deeper and moister canyons of the island.”


**Island Scrub Oak (Quercus pacifica)

            “On wooded slopes and ridges over island.”


 **Macdonald Oak (Quercus macdonaldii)

            “Chaparral, island woodland, and riparian woodland.”



***Santa Catalina Island Fox (Urocyon littoralis catalinae)

            OK, so this is not an oak. It is a fox. But I wanted to share it with you because this species is found only on this island, is very beautiful, and is endangered.


*For more information go to the Catalina Island Conservancy website at: https://www.catalinaconservancy.org/index.php?s=visit&p=wrigley_memorial_and_botanic_garden

And the Santa Catalina Island Company website: