AVALON, Catalina Island–Wrigley’s Catalina: A Centennial Celebration marks a significant milestone in the history of Santa Catalina Island, celebrating the 100-year anniversary of William Wrigley Jr.’s purchase of the island.
The exhibition revisits 1919 and commemorates Wrigley’s execution of his transformational vision for Catalina through a unique collection of photographs, artwork and historic memorabilia. The exhibition first debuted at the Catalina Island Museum in February 2019 and will close January 19, 2020.
“We are proud to present this once-in-a-lifetime centennial exhibition capturing Mr. Wrigley’s energy, integrity and unique jovial spirit as he and his right-hand man, D.M. Renton, transformed the island into a world-class resort destination,” said Julie Perlin Lee, Executive Director of the Catalina Island Museum.
Many items displayed have not been available for public view prior. Included in the exhibition are photographs, a rare painting by John Gabriel Beckman gifted to D.M. Renton, letters, documents, blueprints of the iconic Casino building, early maps of Avalon, steamship artifacts, a program from the 1920 Tournament of Roses parade and rare video footage of Wrigley. In addition to Wrigley’s own quoted declarations and details of his goals for the island, the museum exhibits several of his personal belongings, including the family Bible.
Wrigley, an innovative businessman who turned a modest soap factory into a multi-million-dollar chewing gum empire, transformed Catalina Island into a world-class resort destination in ten years. The exhibition details the process between Wrigley and his right-hand man D.M. Renton as they designed, executed and grew a city to be what is known today as the iconic Santa Catalina Island. From selling parcels of land to residents, building new homes, shops, hotels, infrastructure and utilities, to improving industry such as mining, production of furniture and building supplies to ocean transportation, the addition of a professional sports team (the Chicago Cubs), the iconic Avalon Casino and more, the incredible impact of that decade is still evident today and experienced by the 1 million visitors to the island each year.
Wrigley once said, “I am putting money into Catalina because I am happy and I want others to be happy. The development of Catalina Island will be one of the greatest pleasures of my life.”
Wrigley’s Catalina: A Centennial Celebration is on view at the Catalina Island Museum through January 19, 2020. General admission museum tickets are $17 for adults, $15 for seniors (60+), students (with valid ID), and members of the military (active and veterans). Children 15 years old and younger receive free admission with a paid adult admission. Members of the museum receive free admission.