Catalina Island, 22 nautical miles from Los Angeles, has been a popular getaway since William Wrigley, Jr. of chewing gum fame, recognized its value for tourism in the 1920s. Though development for tourism had been started before by others, World War I interfered and the money ran out before significant inroads could be made. Fortunately financial endurance wasn’t a problem for Wrigley and except for a three-year interruption in his plans when the military took over the island during World War II, he forged ahead constructing the infrastructure, Catalina Casino and other attractions. In order to gain publicity for the resort, he brought his baseball team, the Chicago Cubs, to the island where they would hold their spring training from 1921 through 1951. When William died, it passed to his son, Philip K. Wrigley, who continued the development according to his father’s plans.
Being so close to the Los Angeles/Hollywood film industry, it was a favorite quick escape for actors who could enjoy boating, fishing, diving and socializing. It was just off the village of Two Harbors where actress Natalie Woods drowned after falling into the water while trying to secure the tender in the middle of the night. Her terror of water was well-known by many and the circumstances of her death are still not totally resolved 36 years later. Her husband, Robert Wagner, actor Christopher Walken and boat captain, Dennis Davern, were on the boat at the time.
Catalina has appeared in many films and the Avalon Marina is a familiar sight to moviegoers. Once a rather desolate outcropping of mountains and barren land friendly only to a few goats, Catalina Island has evolved into a familiar tourist destination offering the landmark casino, golf, restaurants and quaint hotels. Many have built vacation homes in the hills above the marina that command breathtaking views and are within walking distance of the main attractions and shopping. There are miles of hiking and biking paths into the interior where one can get a glimpse of the managed herd of 150 buffalo (a former movie prop left behind), other fauna and flora of the island and panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. Access is by ferry, helicopter, private plane, by cruise ship or one’s own yacht.
Going up for auction on August 24th is a one-of-a-kind hillside house with stunning panoramic views of Avalon Bay, the town, the weekly cruise ships, boats in the marina and the Pacific Ocean. Only a five-to-ten-minute walk to all the fun, the 6,232-square-foot residence has three bedrooms and six baths spread for convenience over the four levels accessed by either the glass elevator with skylight above or stairs. But the fun isn’t just down the hill, this house has plenty of its own attractions such as a custom wood-fired pizza oven, outside bar, bocce ball, horseshoe pit, and media room with full bar and expansive wine cellar in addition to 2,000 square feet of outdoor living and entertaining space and an infinity pool with outdoor shower. A workout in the fully equipped home gym is made even better when stepping into the sauna and showering off in the dedicated bath. Floor-to-ceiling window walls and terraces with glass railings for unobstructed viewing offer views from almost every room. The large wine cave is large enough to enjoy tasting and has its own wet bar. Owners enjoy an extensive master suite and a private office. Also included are a number of pieces of artwork and sculptures, a second-floor, Green River prehistoric fossil stone wall with an estimated age of 50 million years. Other pieces of art are negotiable.
Currently listed at $7.88 million, if not sold prior to August 24th the property will be auctioned on that date with no reserve.
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