Incline L.A.: Catalina's Island Mountain Railway (Episode 3) | KCET
Incline L.A.: Catalina's Island Mountain Railway (Episode 3)
The year was 1892, and Catalina Island was in foreclosure.
Its owner, George Shatto, had envisioned a resort town on the island but had built few tourist amenities apart from the three-story Hotel Metropole. When the island finally slipped from Shatto's hands, its new owners purchased it for just $280,000.
Today, sun-soaked Catalina Island -- a rugged mountain range rising from the sea some twenty miles off the coast of Los Angeles -- seems like a natural setting for a resort town. But at the time, its future as a tourist destination was in no way assured. It took a sustained campaign of new construction and scenic beautification -- spearheaded by the island's new owners, the Banning family -- to transform Catalina and the town of Avalon into a tourist's paradise.
The Banning brothers -- Joseph, William, and Hancock -- capitalized on Catalina's natural charms, encouraging sport fishing and big-game hunting and sponsoring stagecoach tours of the island. But nature alone was not enough. Among the other changes the Bannings brought: liquor at the previously dry Hotel Metropole; a vast tent-cabin city; a golf course.
And between 1904 and 1906, they built a monument to modern industrial technology: an incline railway, its station just steps away from the wharf in Avalon.
Collections Featured in Episode One: Downtown
- Catalina Island Museum
- Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection
- Loyola Marymount University, Department of Archives and Special Collections, William H. Hannon Library
- USC Libraries - California Historical Society Collection
Experts Featured in Episode One: Downtown
- John Boraggina, Catalina Island Museum
- Brian Marcroft, private collector and co-founder of the Scenic Mt. Lowe Railway Historical Committee
- Ralph Morrow, Jr., former mayor of Avalon
Special thanks to Water Tower for permission to use their "Pilgrim Song."
L.A. as Subject is an association of more than 230 libraries, museums, official archives, cultural institutions, and private collectors. Hosted by the USC Libraries, L.A. as Subject is dedicated to preserving and telling the sometimes-hidden stories and histories of the Los Angeles region.
Experience the hidden human side of the 24-hour economy through the eyes of five night-shift workersKCET Original
Watch the harrowing stories of two local survivors who escaped from 2 World Trade Center before the buildings collapsed. This Life & Times episode aired November 2001.KCET Original
Katheryn’s job is to help the world’s packages get to their destinations on time as a night supervisor for the UPS processing center at the Ontario airport.KCET Original
California's wildfires are more severe and deadlier than ever before. Debates are raging as to what to do, who will pay for billions of dollars in damage and what can be done to lessen the destruction as California adjusts to its new normal.KCET Original
This is the heroic story of New York firefighter Stephen Siller, who died on 9/11, and his loving family, who were determined to honor his life.KCET Original
Huell goes to Carson for a fascinating look at antique printing machinery.
Huell Howser finds out all there is to know about dates at the Shields Date Gardens in Indio.
The Warnors Theatre, a Fresno landmark that opened in 1928, houses a pipe organ that is the only one of its kind in the world still performing inside its original theatre.
Sonia Warshawski, a Holocaust survivor, is served an eviction notice for her tailor shop, which has thrived for 35 years. She must choose between setting up a new shop or retiring.