Avalon, California

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Avalon, or Avalon Bay, is the only incorporated city on Santa Catalina Island of the California Channel Islands, and the southernmost city in Los Angeles County. Besides Avalon, the only other center of population on the island is the small unincorporated town of Two Harbors.

Avalon was first settled in pre-modern times by members of the Gabrielino/Tongva tribe. From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, several different developers tried to develop Avalon into a resort destination community, but most went bankrupt. In 1919, William Wrigley, Jr. gained control of Avalon. Wrigley oversaw much of the development of Avalon, including the construction of the landmark Catalina Casino.

At the beginning of the 21st century, Avalon remains primarily a resort community. Most of the waterfront is dominated by tourism-oriented businesses. The older parts of the town on the valley floor consist primarily of small houses and two and three-story buildings in various traditional architectural styles. There are also several large apartment complexes nestled in the hills on either side of the valley, so that they are not obvious in most postcard photos of Avalon.

Contents

History

Pre-European settlement

Prior to the modern era, Avalon Bay was inhabited by people of the Gabrielino/Tongva tribe. In addition to Catalina Island, the Tongva occupied present-day Los Angeles County, northern Orange County, and San Clemente Island. The island was a major source of soapstone to the Tongva, who used the material to make stone vessels for cooking.[5] The Tongva called the island Pimu or Pimugna and referred to themselves as the Pimugnans.[6] The Pimugnans had settlements all over the island at one time or another. Their biggest villages, most likely, were located at Avalon Bay, as well as at the Isthmus and Emerald Bay.[citation needed] By the 1830s, the entire island's native population had either died off, or had migrated to the mainland to work in the missions or as ranch hands for the many private land owners.[7]

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