Catalina Pier - Avalon California Catalina Island Green Pier


 

Catalina pier, the Green Pleasure Pier on Catalina Island's city of Avalon, is the anchor to Avalon, Catalina's biggest city. While a larger cement pier is the loading and unloading dock for the numerous boats filled with tourists visiting the island, the green pier is what you notice when you arrive and when you drive to the top of the mountain and look down into the cove where the quaint island's city of Avalon sits. The pier frames the beautiful, intimate Crescent Beach which connects to the city's anchor, Crescent Avenue. Practically the only way to begin a tour of the town is by strolling down Crescent Avenue with its many shops and restaurants. Vivid art deco tiles that were fired on the island by the now defunct Catalina Tile Company adorn the avenue's fountains and planters.

The green pier is really hard to miss along this stroll and the avenue strip with its oceanfront views.  The green pier, the subject of thousands of painting and photographs, is alive with the sights of the bay, people at play in the water below, diners eating fish & chips and sipping beers, and anglers casting a line to see if anything will bite.

 

Green does not accurately describe the color of the Green Pleasure Pier. It's overall effect is green, but to envision the color of the fairways of a golf course would miss the mark. A lime popsicle would be way off. Take the aquamarine of the Pacific Ocean in the bay location and inject it with green to come up with a color that somewhat blends with its surroundings, though its shade is lighter and more vibrant.

The Green Pleasure Pier is home to the Catalina Island Visitor Center, several restaurants, restrooms, departing dock for boat tours, boat rentals and a great place to just sit and people watch.

 

The first Avalon pier was built after 1887 by entrepreneur George Shatto. He defaulted on loans and sold the island in 1892 to the Banning brothers, whose father General Phineas Banning established Wilmington on the mainland. They owned it until a devastating fire in 1915 forced sale to William Wrigley Jr. In 1934 Wrigley's son, Philip K. Wrigley,  re-designed  downtown Avalon. Contracting Otis and Dorothy Shepard to give Avalon a cohesive, Early California feel, palm trees were planted, they built a serpentine wall, installed fountains, changed signage throughout Avalon and developed the bright color palette used in many building projects, including Pier Green. Perhaps Philip K. Wrigley's most lasting contribution was the creation of the Catalina Island Conservancy, which was given 88% of the Island in the mid-1970s to protect from overdevelopment and conserve native species.

 

Dating of the construction of the Green Pleasure Pier Pier varies by several sources. Here's what they say: 1) Pier Green or the Green Pleasure Pier is listed as being constructed in 1910. 2) The pier was constructed in 1920. 3) The current pier is a replacement of the original, built by the Department of War in 1907 but destroyed by a winter storm in 1908.  The Green Pleasure Pier is approximately 407 feet long and contains wooden planks on its causeway.

catalina island photos

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