Avalon Casino Ballroom
Catalina Island, CA
The Avalon Casino Ballroom & Theater is one of the most distinctive landmarks in California. William Wrigley Jr. built the building in 1929, and put the ballroom on the 6th floor, overlooking Avalon Harbor. It has been restored and its art deco interior maintained. It has the world's largest circular ballroom. Despite its name, it has never been used for gambling. When it was built, dance pavilions were often called casinos.
The Avalon Casino Ballroom was very famous during the Swing era with big bands such as Benny Goodman and Jan Garber. It has a movie theater and island museum on the ground level, and above that is the large circular ballroom.
During the heyday of the big bands, passengers on special evening cruises aboard the passenger ship, S.S. Catalina, would dance all the way to Catalina Island. After dancing in the Avalon Casino Ballroom, they would continue to dance on the return trip aboard the Catalina, arriving back at the mainland at 2:30 in the morning!