WALTON, Claude

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Walton, Claude E. (1890-1970), California-born 8th grade graduate who became a master mariner working out of Avalon, Santa Catalina Island for most of his career. By the time he was 20, Walton lived at Avalon with his mother, Antoinette, and his brothers Fred and Roy. Claude Walton eventually worked for and retired from the Santa Catalina Island Company. He and his Colorado-born wife, Olive, had one daughter, Claudia (b. c. 1921). They owned a home at 251 Whittley Avenue.

Captain Walton ran various vessels at Santa Catalina Island throughout his career, including:

In the News~

January 14, 1925 [TI/Avalon]: “Capt. Claude Walton left for Long Beach Sunday, to bring back the glass-bottom boat Emperor, which has been recently overhauled and redecorated.”

May 26, 1926 [TI/Avalon]: “Captain Claude Walton had a thrilling experience the other day while crossing the channel in the glass-bottom boat Cleopatra. Up in the pilot house of the vessel he was alone on the boat, and was humming a tune. The sea was calm and the engine was 'rambling along like a million dollars.' Presently Captain Walton heard a noise on the lower deck on the vessel. Was it ghosts? Leaving the wheel house the genial captain investigated. Imagine his surprise when a cat and three kittens came toddling along the deck toward him. The cat had climbed on board while the vessel was at the Wilmington Transportation Company's dock at Wilmington. Captain Walton brought the family to Avalon.”

March 25, 1921 [TI/Avalon]: “Captain Claude Walton informs us that arrangements are being made for launching the new glass-bottomed boat, the Phoenix, successor to the Emperor, wrecked during a winter northeaster. It will probably occur next Wednesday, April 1st. Furthermore, the vessel will probably be placed in commission May 1st. We understand that the new boat has several improvements over such boats heretofore built.”

April 8, 1931 [TI/Avalon]] “The Phoenix, new glass-bottom boat built to replace the Emperor, wrecked here during a heavy north-easter last winter, was successfully launched from the ways of the Wilmington Boat Works on Wednesday forenoon of last week. The following are excerpts from an article concerning the launching as reported by the Harbor Press of that city:

Shouts of warning, pounding of hammers on wood, splintering of glass and spontaneous hurrahs, followed by applause, and the Phoenix, $100,000 glass-bottom boat... slid down the ways on her first trip to the sea this morning. Little golden-haired Claudia Walton, daughter of Capt. Walton of the Phoenix, stood at the bow waiting for the signal, while workmen removed block after block under the vessel. Then at a signal she raised her arm and cracked the bottle to christen the Phoenix as she slowly began to slide down into the waters of the East Basin. Waiting for the Phoenix in the water was the Wrigley tug, David P. Fleming, to see that she did not go too far out into the bay. She was hated and towed to the landing, where workmen will finish her interior.... Her glass plates in the bottom, through which tourists will view the bottom of the sea off Catalina, are one inch thick... She is expected to be in service by this time next month, joining the fleet of three glass-bottom boats now operating in the island waters... Present this morning at the launching were D. P. Fleming, secretary of the Wilmington Transportation Company; Captain Morris of the steamer Catalina; M. S Patrick, manager of the pleasure boats for the Wrigley subsidiary, Captain Claude Walton of the Phoenix, family and invited guests.”

August 17, 1932 [TI/Avalon]: “Sunday morning Mrs. Claude Walton of West Whittley Avenue received the sad news that her sister, Mrs. W. Cline of Seattle, Wash., had passed away. Last September Mrs. Walton visited visited her sister at Seattle. The two sisters were devoted to each other, and the many friends of Captain and Mrs. Walton extend sympathy in their bereavement.”

August 31, 1932 [TI/Avalon]: “Miss Caludia Walton, daughter of Capt. Walton, celebrated her twelfth birthday on Sunday, August 28, with a chicken dinner at the Southern Inn, 116 Claressa Avenue. She had as her guests the Misses Tootsie Brown, Elizabeth Greig, Helen Greig and Rhoden Williams.”

September 20, 1932 [LAT]: “Captain Claude Walton, port captain for the Wilmington Transportation Company’s pleasure fleet at Avalon, yesterday brought the glass-bottom boat Empress from Catalina Island to undergo annual overhaul at the yards of the Wilmington Boat Works. The craft will return tomorrow. She will be followed for overhaul by the glass-bottom Princess and Phoenix and by the searchlight boats Betty O and Blanche W'.”

October 25, 1933 [TI/Avalon]: “Frigate Constitution to visit Avalon Bay. Weather permitting, a parade of all boats in Avalon will meet the U. S. Frigate Constitution when that historical vessel arrives here at 1 P.M., November 2... After the parade, Captain Claude Walton of the Santa Catalina Island Company, states that all school children will be transported to and from the anchorage from the pleasure pier on the glass bottom boats, free of charge. There will be a small charge of ten cents round trip for adults not connected with the local schools...”

December 22, 1938 [TI/Avalon]: “Miss Claudia Walton, who is taking a music course at the University of Southern California, is spending the holiday vacation here with her parents, Captain and Mrs. Claude Walton.”

January 1962 [TI/Avalon]: “Catalina Operations Company ticket agent, Capt. Claude Walton, retired after 42 years, joining the Island Boat Service. He was replaced by Glynn Taylor.”