"R.D. Smith's colorful tour book is both beautiful and functional-much like the Vintage tiles he describes within. Accessible and yet rich with the technical detail of the tile-making processes, Smith has crafted a fun and engaging way to experience the legacy of the island. His well-researched histories and use of local knowledge make this a unique, interactive, and necessary guide."-Johnny SampsonChief CuratorCatalina Museum of Art & History
For decades, as passengers disembarked onto the shores of Catalina Island, they were greeted by a manifold array of colorful tiles decorating the storefronts, walkways, planters, rooftops, and fountains. Inspired by the "Spanish Revival" movement, the island's public spaces have been decorated with these works of art since the late 1920's. While over the years there have been many contemporary tiles and reproductions of the vintage tiles produced and installed, it is the vintage tiles which are the quest of this book to locate amongst all the tiles on the island. These vintage tiles were manufactured on the island using the clay quarried from the deposits found on the island.
In 1919, William Wrigley Jr. purchased the island. Wrigley made it his life's ambition to create a romantic "refuge...for the rich and the poor" on Catalina Island, and transform Avalon into...a monument to the early beginnings of California." To accomplish this endeavor, Wrigley brought over his "expert" contractor D. M. Renton who was given that mission.
The persistent story in island folklore is that one day Wrigley and Renton got their vehicle stuck in some mud. This fortuitous discovery of clay, the malady of their traveling mishap, was a boon for the island's much needed construction material. Starting in 1927, bricks, roof tiles, and patio tiles were produced at the factory built on Pebbly Beach, just east of Lover's Cove. Today, with the factory long gone, colorful shards can still be found if one scours the shore.
This travel book is a great primer on these vintage tiles including the history, tile method techniques, color descriptions, and how to find them. There are over 100 colorful photographs. The book provides four tour routes including QR codes for maps and additional pictures. It also includes QR codes to services, eateries, organizations, and reference books.