A collection of brochures and photographs related to the aviation history of Catalina Island, which was first linked to the mainland by what was then the longest overwater flight in aviation history, accomplished on May 10, 1912 by Glenn Martin. The materials were gathered by Art Ronnie, a freelance writer and reporter with the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, for an article he wrote for the August 1962 issue of Westways magazine.
According to Ronnie’s article, Martin’s 33-mile trip began in Newport Bay, and on his return trip, he carried a load of mail to the mainland. He traveled a mile per minute, accomplishing a quicker pace and longer distance than celebrated French pilot Bleriot, who crossed the English Channel three years earlier. It was not until 1919 that regular aerial service linked Catalina Island with the mainland when silent screen comedian Syd Chaplin expanded Chaplin Air Line’s service to include a route from San Pedro to Avalon. His four airplanes flew six round trips daily for a season, but the service was unprofitable and soon discontinued. The nine-page typescript of Ronnie’s article is included with this collection along with a tear sheet of the story as it appeared in Westways. The archive also includes:
Fly to Exciting Catalina. Avalon Air Transport, Long Beach Municipal Airport Catalina’s Only Schedule Airline. 8” x 9” brochure, folded in half. Printed in blue and black on white paper. No date (circa 1955).
Catalina Island Overnight Trip $11.50 Per Person. Catalina Cottages. 8” x 9” brochure, folded in half. Printed in blue on white paper. No date (circa 1950). The brochure contains a small map showing the location of cottages, along with the location of the United Airlines offices. United provided regular passenger service to the island from 1946 to 1954, carrying nearly 400,000 passengers and helping to increase tourism.
Seven black and white photographs, each measuring 8” x 10” with captions on the verso, showing the aviation history of the island. These include:
Islanders and visitors view with amazement the strange craft that Glenn Martin flew across the channel, May 10, 1912. Note the old fashioned dress of the women that were in height of fashion for beach resort wear at the time. Credit J.H. Wegmann photo. Stamped Alma Overholt Santa Catalina Island News Service, Avalon, May 10, 1937.
Sikorsky S-38 Amphibian. Operated by Western Air Express between June 1928 and May 1931. Credit: Western Airlines. Westways’ stamp and pencil markings on verso.
Gruman Goose amphibian. Type of plane used by Avalon Air Transport on regular run between Long Beach Municipal Airport and Santa Catalina. Westways’ stamp and pencil markings on verso.
Loening Amphibian. Operated by Western Air Express between June 1928 and May 1931. Credit: Western Airlines.
Sikorsky VS-44A flying boat. Credit: Avalon Air Transport.
Gruman Goose amphibian. Operated by Avalon Air Transport. Stamp on verso for Gene’s Photo & Rock Shop, Avalon.
Boeing 204 Flying Boat. Operated by Western Air Express between June 1928 and May 1931. Credit: Western Airlines.
An 8” x10” black and white photo on glossy stock, showing a woman delivering mail from a Chaplin-Air-Line plane, likely 1919. Modern reprint of the photograph with no caption or image credit.
A group of ten 5” x 4” black and white photographs with captions on the verso. They include:
Three photographs providing different views of the inaugural flight of Wilmington-Catalina Airlines, Ltd., June 6, 1931.
Three photographs providing different views of Edna Purviance preparing to crack a bottle of California orange juice over the bow of the Seagull. July 11, 1919.
Two photographs providing different views of a marriage ceremony at sea. October 17, 1920.
Two photographs providing different views of Glenn Martin 25th anniversary flight to Catalina. May 10, 1937.
The photographs in this archive appear to be reproductions gathered in the 1960s for Ronnie’s article. A fascinating research archive of Catalina’s aviation history. All the materials in this archive are in very good or better condition. Item #73708