The Sugarloaf Casino


Sugarloaf Casino

This is a shot of the Casino in Avalon Harbor on Catalina Island. The Casino is no longer in business, but is now a thriving Theatre and Museum. Many Hollywood luminaries used to frequent this Casino in older days as it was just a short ~20 miles from LA by boat.

The Catalina Casino was built on the site formerly known as Sugarloaf Point. This site was cleared away to allow for the construction of the Hotel St. Catherine. However, this hotel was eventually built in Descanso Canyon instead. When chewing gum magnate  William Wrigley, Jr bought the controlling stake in Catalina Island, he used this cleared spot to build the dance hall which he named Sugarloaf Casino. It served as a ballroom and Avalon’s first high-school. Its time as a casino was short, however, for it proved too small for Catalina’s growing population. In 1928, the Casino was razed to make room for a newer Casino. Sugarloaf Rock was blasted away to enhance the Casino’s ocean-view.

On May 29, 1929, the newer Casino finished construction under the direction of Mr. Wrigley and  David Renton at a cost of 2 million dollars. Its design,  is described as being  Art Deco and Mediterranean Revival, and was the first to be designed specifically for movies with sound. Steel structure of the old Sugarloaf Casino can still be found in Avalon’s abandoned bird park. The bird park was conceived by Mrs. Wrigley, and, at the time, was one of the largest aviaries in the world. The bird-park now serves as a daycare for the local residents of Avalon.

One response

  1. Nice history lesson for this shot. This looks like an amazing place to walk around and enjoy!

    May 19, 2011 at 6:53 am

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