Metropote Hotel, large wooden structure above, center, was soc ial center of Avalon, Catalina Island, around turn of the century. Fun on Catalina-1900 By Maymie R. Kryfhe JN THE 1890s and at the turn of the century, several small newspapers at Avalon--including the Catalina Jew Fish, The Avalon Crusoe, and The Wireless--did their best to boost their island. The editors extolled the climate, the scenery, and the recreational facilities; and today these old newspapers give us a good idea of how visitors there amused themselves. Ads such as the following appeared in the Long Beach Press to attract people to the island: THE GOOD OLD SUMMER TIME Don't let it slip away without a TRIP TO CATALINA This is the most prosperous season in its history. Can you afford to deny yourself the pleasure of this wonderful trip through the busy harbor, past the new government breakwater, and over 30 miles of the grand old ocean to a magic island which, by the genius of man and natdre, has been made a paradise for the p l e a s u r e seeker? THE VESTIBULED CATALINA FLYERS OF THE SALT LAKE ROUTE Take you to the boat's side each day at 9:48 a. m., 2:23 p. m. Sunday you can spend the afternoon on the island and return in the evening. WHAT MORE WILL $2.25 DO Â·IN THE GOOD OLD SUMMER TIME'? To (each CaUlina, Southland residents went by train to Wilmington to board steamers, the Falcon or the Hermosa. (The Hermosa later was used as a fishing vessel and was heavily damaged by fire off Costa Rica. The hulk towed back to the harbor and the deckhouse and after portion were removed and installed on W. Anaheim St. for use as a night club. Later the facility was used for a time as a union headquarters.) On reaching Avalon, some people stayed in the tent colony, others in hotels. Several were so impressed that they bought lots--from $150 to $350--to build summer homes. One reporter asked, "Where can be found better prosperity?" However, he admitted Avalon was no metropolis, but declared it was improving each year. By this time, a road grader had been brought over to complete the stage road to the Isthmus. "The country traversed by this road is very rugged and requires a great deal of grading and filling to make it passable," a contemporary wrote. In the Catalina Jew Fish, the Metropole Hotel advertisement stated that it was under new m a n - agement; the service was improved, and the rates reduced. Since its enlargement, the dining room could serve 200 at one time. Room and board cost $2.50 a day; there were special weekly rates; Sun- day dinners were 50 cents; and board alone, $7 a week. Fish was served at every meal. AT THE METROPOLE, boats and carriages could be hired; fishing lines and rods were free to guests; often there were social gatherings with women visitors entertaining with vocal and instrumental music. A ball was scheduled each Saturday evening. By 1900, the Metropole was the center of the resort life, and guests came from all over California, from states as far away as Massachusetts and Connecticut, and even from abroad. One reporter wrote: 'The hotel continues to he well patronized, and all seem more than satisfied; the Sunday fish dinner seems very popular and is fast getting the house a good name; the t.os Angeles folk in particular appreciating fish that are cooked so well, and are so fresh from the sea. The trouble is, the guests eat so much now, though." Not far from the Metropole was an aquarium with unusual fish which many liked to visit. Moonlight walks along the beach were popular. On occasional Sunday evenings there were song services at the beach, or sacred concerts by visiting musicians at the pavilion. Bathing, swimming and sailing were other pastimes; and on one Admission (Continued on Page 30) Steamship travel to Carolina had developed by the 1890s. Above, Avalon scene with SS Hermosa at pier. The SS Falcon also plied channel waters. Pholo, courier Tille Insurance Tryir Co. Catalina's scenic beauties have intrigued visitors for generations. Thfs it Arch Roclt, photograph taken in 1905. Island waters abound in fisd.
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