20 CATALINA EXPRESS MAGAZINE 2019–2020 Top5 This development has put a new face on the stunning cove and beach located just beyond the Casino. There’s a restaurant, bar, cabanas and activities such as Catalina Aerial Adventure, Zip Line Eco Tour, Catalina Climbing Wall, plus kayaking and stand up paddling with Descanso Beach Ocean Sport. AVA L O N ’ S ICONIC SIGHTS Top5 Catalina has a rich history and a score of historical and architectural landmarks. Here are five that are too good to miss. Avalon’s most recognizable sight is the Casino, a circular white building that towers over the yachts riding at anchor on Avalon Bay. Built in the late 1920s, it was never a gambling hall, but some of the nation’s most famous performers appeared here during the Big Band era: Benny Goodman, Stan Kenton, Woody Herman and Gene Autry. Mt. Ada This mansion overlooking Avalon Bay was built in 1921 as a summer retreat for chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. and his wife Ada. At the time, they owned 99% of Santa Catalina Island Company. In its heyday, the Wrigleys entertained Presidents Calvin Coolidge and Warren Harding at the Georgian Colonial Revival-style house. It is now a bed and breakfast inn. Descanso Beach Green Pleasure Pier The Casino Chimes Tower This hillside landmark can be seen—and heard—from the harbor and in Avalon. The tower was a 1925 gift to the city from Ada and William Wrigley Jr.; its melodic chimes have delineated life in Avalon ever since. A nonprofit foundation has been working to refurbish the structure and chimes. CatalinaChimes.org California’s long coastline is dotted with piers, but only Catalina has a bright green one that has been named to state’s Top Five Pleasure Piers list. Built in 1909 by the Island’s early developers, Avalon’s wooden-planked pier holds restaurants, boat rentals, tours, bait and tackle for fishing and a visitors’ center.