Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Catalina and WWII
I intended to write this last night to co-inside with Veterans Day but somehow the evening got away from me so here I am!
By the time our country was in the era of the Roaring 20's the tiny island of Catalina was in full swing with tourists. The Banning Bros. had developed a steam ship cruise line that was making daily trips keeping the island hoping with visitors. Time passed, the village of Avalon grew and prospered until December 7th when the Japanese drop their bombs on Pearl Harbor. Suddenly life as it was stopped on the island. The US government stopped all steam ship trips and basically took control of the island. Troops were quickly brought to the island to provide protection to the Pacific Coast from any anticipated Japanese invasions.
South of Avalon, along the coast a Quonset Hut city quickly developed to house the men. Today those huts still remain and serve as private residences.
My friend Dee shared stories about what the island was like during the war years. She was a teen at that time and remembered how the island residents cared for the service men and the casino would be open on the weekends to serve as a place for them to have some much needed "R & R."
Shortly after the war ended the island quickly resumed to it's resort status. The steam ships set sail, the vacationers came back and the economy flourished.