Part of the Channel Island system, Santa Catalina Island lies 22 miles off the coast of southern California. In the late 1800s, General Phineas Banning and his sons realized the potential value of Catalina as a resort destination and began developing infrastructure to support tourism in the town of Avalon. In 1915, a fire at the Hotel Metropole in the main center of Avalon spread quickly, destroying half of the town’s buildings and homes. Due to debt incurred as a result of the fire and decreased tourism, the Banning brothers sold the island property in shares. Industrialist William Wrigley, Jr. (of chewing gum fame) purchased a controlling interest in the island in 1919. Wrigley made significant investments in developing the island. Notable developments include the iconic Catalina Casino, constructed in 1929, as well as ferry boats to bring tourists back and forth from southern California destinations.