Avalon, Catalina Island
Research for SLICK DEAL
We spent five days in Avalon, on Catalina Island to research our latest book, SLICK DEAL the fourth in the Skylar Drake Murder Mystery series.
Today we checked out a few things:
We visited the Glenmore Plaza, the oldest hotel still standing on the island. This was where we decided to put up FBI Agent, Olivia Jahns, during her investigation. The lobby has a great Victorian staircase and beautiful wood paneling from the 1920s.
We then took a tour of the Casino, the most recognized building in Catalina Island built in 1921. Our hero Skylar Drake, P.I. has a date with our femme fatale, Mary Black, to go dancing at the Casino. There was never any gambling in the Casino and they didn’t serve alcohol until the mid-1940s. They had an ice cream bar instead. Some of the big name band leaders who performed were Benny Goodman, Stan Kenton, and Woody Herman.
We spent time interviewing our guide Frankie of Avalon. He was a wealth of information since he was born and raised in Avalon.
It was interesting to find out that if you didn't have your own boat in1950s the Great White Steamer, (300 foot long SS Catalina), was the only affordable mode of transportation (other than seaplane) to Catalina. The steamer had a large dance floor and band. So people would dance to the band on the ship during the two hour trip to Catalina, then continue dancing at the Casino after they arrived, (4-6 more hours). Then they would dance on the two-hour sail back to the mainland. That’s eight hours of dancing!
In 1921, William Wrigley Jr. owned the island and the Chicago Cubs. He moved the Cubs’ spring training site to Catalina, where it remained for 30 years. Some of the baseball greats who trained here were Dizzy Dean, Rogers Hornsby, and Hack Wilson.
The Cubs’ team radio announcer was Ronald Reagan.
For all Catalina fans, The Atwater Hotel is closed for renovation. It will reopen mid-2019. The Atwater Hotel is the second oldest hotel on the island opening only a few months after the Glenmore Hotel Plaza, just across the street, in the 1920s. The renovation plans look and sound wonderful!
We have fond memories of staying at the Atwater in the 1970-80s. It was old but charming!