The face of Avalon was forever changed on November 29, 1915 when a fire destroyed a large portion of town, including the Metropole and many other hotels, the Tuna Club, Pilgrim Club, main bathhouse, waterfront shops, and all other city structures within its path. Amazingly there were no injuries or fatalities reported. Faced with enormous financial losses, the Bannings took a trust deed in the amount of $850,000 to pay off debts and build a major new tourist hotel — the Saint Catherine.
In the News~
November 30, 1915 [SBMP]: “Avalon, beauty of the sea, is burned. Half the town of Avalon, on Santa Catalina Island, was destroyed by fire today… The steamer Hermosa arrived at San Pedro Harbor shortly before noon with guests from one of the hotels destroyed at Avalon. The vessel left immediately with provisions and supplies for the island. It was stated that many of the 500 people from Avalon were homeless.”