McLaughlins, von Coellns & Extended Family

Catalina Island Scrapbook

Our family history is intertwined with the development of Catalina Island and one of the key leaders of the city of Avalon, Earl Reinhardt Pollok. E.R. Pollok was city manager of Avalon from 1930 to 1942 and had first-hand experience and a treasure trove of pictures documenting the island's heyday through the beginning of World War II, when the military used Catalina as a base of operations.

E.R Pollok's connections helped him land a job as the city manager for Avalon, Catalina. "In those days they combined engineer, city planner, and other jobs together into the city manager job. That way they could pay you something." He was a tall man, and he loved his job in Avalon. He would often walk the town streets and everyone knew his name. He returned to Catalina after World War II, but the army had left the place in such a shambles, he left in disgust. "At the Boos brothers cafeteria, the army had taken everything out of the building they didn't think they could use and left it there. It rusted in the rain and left an awful mess."²

The Museum of Catalina covers the hsitory of the discovery of the island, but this site will focus more on the photos that E.R. collected during his time as City Manager from the 1930s to the War, relying heavily on his scrapbook for the 1939-1941 years.


Pictures by Year:1886, 1892, 1900, early 1930s, 1938, 1939, 1940


  • Click to see a larger image plus more images of seaplane and first mail deliveries by planeOctober 7, 1542: The Pimungans of Santa Catalina Island paddled out to greet the Spanish galleon that bore the explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo to their shores. Cabrillo claimed the Island for the King of Spain. The visit was duly noted in the ship's log and the Island was given the name San Salvador, after Cabrillo's ship.¹
  • November 24, 1602 On the eve of St. Catherine's Day, the ship of the second Spanish explorer, Sebastian Viscaino, sighted the Island. Viscaino renamed it Santa Catalina in honor of Saint Catherine. ¹
  • 1887: The town of Avalon was established as a resort by George Shatto. See pictures from the early years of Avalon's development: 1886, 1892, and 1903
  • 1919: Chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. was offered the chance to participate in a group investment the purchase of Catalina Island. Wrigley quickly bought out his other partners, making him the sole owner of the island. ¹
  • 1919: Syd Chaplin, half-brother to Charlie Chaplin, began the first seaplane servicebetween Wilmington, CA and Catalina Island with a Curtiss “Seagull” flying boat in 1919. ²
  • 1921: Wrigley brought his baseball team, the Chciago Cubs, to Catalina for Spring Training, continuing through 1951 except 1943-45 during war when island taken over by the military
  • 1929: The Casino opens, becoming one of the primary icons of the city of Avalon.
  • Earle and Mary in Avalon, Catalina Island, California in 19371930: Earl Reinhardt Pollok named City Manager of Avalon
  • November 21, 1933: The USS Constitution visited Avalon as a stop on its voyage around the world
  • 1934: Philip K. Wrigley, son of William Wrigley Jr., lead a re-design of downtown Avalon, directing designers Otis and Dorothy Shepard to give Avalon a cohesive, Early California feel. This re-design included planting palm trees, building a serpentine wall, installing fountains, redoing signage all throughout Avalon and developing a bright and distictive color palette used in many building projects.¹ Also starting in 1934, the casino hosted Big Bands of the era which were broadcast by CBS continually until the war. At its peak, Kay Kyser and his band had over 6,200 people dancing to him on May 8, 1940
  • 1935: First mail delivery by seaplane
  • May 19, 1938: First official air mail pickup from Avalon, Catalina
  • December 25, 1939: The first annual Las Posadas celebration
  • 1941: With the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Catalina was closed to tourism
  • 1942: Earl Reinhard Pollok leaves Catalina
  • 1943: The United States Maritime Service, United States Coast Guard, Army Signal Corp, and the Office of Strategic Services had operations on the Island.

This page last updated Saturday, 28-Oct-2006 11:33:01 PDT,

Catalina Island Home Early Avalon Photos The Casino Seaplanes Open Links to Avalon Cubbies in Catalina Big Bands Las Posadas Family Members Home


  1. Catalina Island History by by Stacey Otte, Executive Director & Jeannine Pedersen, Curator of the Catalina Island Museum
  2. Notes from a Conversation with Pop [Erhard Schaber], June 5, 1994