Our History

One of the most charming features of Avalon is the iconic and beautifully designed Chimes Tower. Wanting to do something special for the community, William Wrigley, Jr. purchased the Deagan Westminster chimes and, in December 1925, had a tower built to house them. It was Ada Elizabeth Wrigley's hope that the unique and melodic chimes would sound across the town for years to come, bringing enjoyment to all who came to Avalon, and adding another bit of “character” to the magical island that had captivated her family.

The chimes were designed to strike on the hour, the quarter hour, the half hour, and the three quarter hour. They were also played manually from an electric console that was originally housed in a viewing room at the entrance to the Steamer Pier (where Antonio’s is located today). Passengers could watch a musician play songs on the keyboard, and hear the notes chimed from the tower perched high above Avalon.

The first notes from the Chimes Tower were played in March of 1926. The chimes test was attended by Mr. and Mrs. Deagan and SCI Company General Manager D.M. Renton, who stood across Avalon on the front porch of the Wrigley's home, Mt. Ada. The citizens of Avalon stopped in the streets to enjoy the melodic tones, and the chimes have entertained millions of Avalon residents and visitors ever since. However, after 90 years, while the chimes are in good order and continue to ring on a daily basis, the tower surrounding them has greatly deteriorated due to its advanced age, despite various efforts to maintain it.

In 2013, the board of the Santa Catalina Island Company decided to create a non-profit foundation, and deeded the chimes and tower to it. The newly formed Catalina Chimes Tower Foundation (CCTF) had its first meeting in 2015, and took ownership of the building. Since then, the CCTF Board has been developing a plan to restore and beautify the iconic structure and its surroundings, and has already received many gifts from both local residents and visitors 'overtown.' Quite a few people have included stories of the memories and love of the chimes, which you can read on the "Stories and Press" section of this site.