AVALON—In the late 1880s George Shatto, who owned the island at the time, embarked on a campaign to turn Catalina Island into a tourist destination. He began planning and building Avalon as the focal point of the island and hub of activity. Avalon’s first season as a resort community kicked off in the summer of 1888 under the ownership of Shatto. According to the Catalina Island Museum, the SS Ferndale carried passengers to the island once a day and it took approximately four hours for the crossing. This photo of a steamer ship docked in Avalon Bay with the Hotel Metropole in the background was taken two short years later in 1890.
Catalina Island Museum photo