Cherry Valley, Santa Catalina Island

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Cherry Valley Mine entrance, Santa Catalina Island


Cherry Valley, Santa Catalina Island is shown on a map in The Islander on August 1, 1916. It is named for the native cherry trees, Prunus ilicfolia, which grow there.

“The seat of an early mining excitement, where the hillsides are honeycombed with tunnels. From 1862 to 1964 the Island was swarming with prospectors for precious metals. The seat of the excitement seems to have been at Cherry Valley. Every foot of ground from the sea to the summit of the hills—was filed on as mining claims. Recently extensive deposits of lead and silver ores have been located here.” [May 28, 1936: TI/Avalon.]

CHERRY VALLEY: “A beautifully wooded valley running straight up, through a luxuriant cherry grove, into the hills. The mouth is a fine and rich bottom ending at a narrow, pebbly beach. This encloses a small salina which is the habitat of many interesting species. The pebble beach is richly clothed with Pterostegia drymarioides.” [Millspaugh & Nuttall Flora of Santa Catalina Island (1923)].

In 1901 it was noted there is a “little cemetery in Cherry Valley, in the vicinity of the Isthmus camping ground.”



In the News~

August 4, 1901 [LAH]: “Avalon, Santa Catalina Island. Aug. 3 — 'Came to her death by an overdose of morphine; cause unknown', was the verdict of the coroner's jury in the case of Mrs. C. Chester, whose body was found in a canyon on the west side of the island yesterday afternoon. The inquest was held at the Isthmus last evening, and immediately after the finding of the jury the woman's remains were interred in the little cemetery in Cherry Valley, in the vicinity of the Isthmus camping ground. C. Chester, the woman's husband, was the only witness. Though he tried to conceal the fact, it appeared from his testimony that Mrs. Chester always carried morphine and that she became addicted to the use of the drug, as has been stated, in taking it for heart and stomach affections. The couple started out Tuesday afternoon for a walk over the hills. She slipped, he stated, and gave herself a strain and swallowed the powder to alleviate the pain. When she began to feel relieved she sent him to the beach to see if they could get out of the canyon, and when he returned he found she had taken an overdose and was dying. She begged him not to leave her and he did not try to go for help. Chester confessed that he also used the drug and took a dose after his wife died. Had she left a sufficient amount, he said, he would have taken enough to kill himself. He started back to the Isthmus and wandered over the hills, alternately walking and resting until he was found Thursday evening. Frank Cochran and the first party of men who went to Avalon, found the body, carried it from the canyon to the boat and took it around to the Isthmus. The woman died about 8 o'clock Wednesday evening. The couple came from Seattle to Los Angeles, where they remained about two weeks before coming to Catalina. They were laboring people, and had no means aside from their combined earnings. The jurors were C. A. Wilson, foreman, A. R. Hollerook, John Frates, W. A. Jacquer, G. R. McLeord and Olaf Sundillins.”


August 17, 1903 [LAH]: “Reports that a serious fire was raging on the island above the isthmus reached Avalon yesterday and caused considerable anxiety as that portion of the island contains the largest flocks of sheep. The fire proved to have been in Cherry Valley and was probably started by campers on shore. A force of men from Avalon and others from Empire and the isthmus were hurried to the scene and the fire was extinguished without serious damage having been done. Superintendent Stanton who was at the isthmus, acted as fire marshal.”


March 12, 1918 [TI/Avalon]: “Cherry Valley—The seat of an early mining excitement, where the hillsides are honeycombed with tunnels. From 1862 to 1864 the island was swarming with prospectors for precious metals. The seat of excitement seems to have been at Cherry Valley. Every foot of ground from the sea to the summit of the hills — and even running out under the hills — was filed as mining claims, and the mines were stocked to the amount of many millions of dollars.”


July 18, 1935 [TI/Avalon]: “Points of Interest—The seat of an early mining excitement, where the hillsides are honeycombed with tunnels. From 1862 to 1864 the island was swarming with prospectors, for precious metals. The seat of the excitement seems to have been at Cherry Valley. Every foot of ground from the sea to the summit of the hills was filed on as mining claims. Recently extensive deposits of lead and silver ores have been located here.”



August 4, 1901 [LAH]: “Avalon, Santa Catalina Island. Aug. 3 — 'Came to her death by an overdose of morphine; cause unknown', was the verdict of the coroner's jury in the case of Mrs. C. Chester, whose body was found in a canyon on the west side of the island yesterday afternoon. The inquest was held at the Isthmus last evening, and immediately after the finding of the jury the woman's remains were interred in the little cemetery in Cherry Valley, in the vicinity of the Isthmus camping ground. C. Chester, the woman's husband, was the only witness. Though he tried to conceal the fact, it appeared from his testimony that Mrs. Chester always carried morphine and that she became addicted to the use of the drug, as has been stated, in taking it for heart and stomach affections. The couple started out Tuesday afternoon for a walk over the hills. She slipped, he stated, and gave herself a strain and swallowed the powder to alleviate the pain. When she began to feel relieved she sent him to the beach to see if they could get out of the canyon, and when he returned he found she had taken an overdose and was dying. She begged him not to leave her and he did not try to go for help. Chester confessed that he also used the drug and took a dose after his wife died. Had she left a sufficient amount, he said, he would have taken enough to kill himself. He started back to the Isthmus and wandered over the hills, alternately walking and resting until he was found Thursday evening. Frank Cochran and the first party of men who went to Avalon, found the body, carried it from the canyon to the boat and took it around to the Isthmus. The woman died about 8 o'clock Wednesday evening. The couple came from Seattle to Los Angeles, where they remained about two weeks before coming to Catalina. They were laboring people, and had no means aside from their combined earnings. The jurors were C. A. Wilson, foreman, A. R. Hollerook, John Frates, W. A. Jacquer, G. R. McLeord and Olaf Sundillins.”