Chimes Tower group begins fundraising efforts

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Fundraising is in progress to restore one of the most iconic and beloved buildings in Avalon, The Chimes Tower.

Completed in 1925 by Ada and William Wrigley Jr., the Chimes Tower was their gift to the citizens of Avalon. Mr. Wrigley commissioned a special set of melodic Westminster Chimes from Deagan and Co. of Chicago at a cost of $25,000, and built the beautiful tower to house them. The chimes were designed to strike on the hour, the quarter hour, the half hour, and the three quarter hour.

Fundraising is in progress to restore one of the most iconic and beloved buildings in Avalon, The Chimes Tower.

Completed in 1925 by Ada and William Wrigley Jr., the Chimes Tower was their gift to the citizens of Avalon. Mr. Wrigley commissioned a special set of melodic Westminster Chimes from Deagan and Co. of Chicago at a cost of $25,000, and built the beautiful tower to house them. The chimes were designed to strike on the hour, the quarter hour, the half hour, and the three quarter hour.

They were also played manually from an electric console that was originally housed in a viewing room at the entrance to the Steamer Pier (where Antonio’s is located today). Passengers could watch a musician play songs on the keyboard, and hear the notes chimed from the tower perched high above Avalon.

The first notes from the Chimes Tower were played in March of 1926. The chimes test was attended by Mr. and Mrs. Deagan and SCI Company General Manager D.M. Renton, who stood across Avalon on the front porch of the Wrigleys home, Mt. Ada. The citizens of Avalon stopped in the streets to enjoy the melodic tones, and the chimes have entertained millions of Avalon residents and visitors ever since. However, after 90 years, the Chimes Tower has begun to show its age and is in need of renovation.

In 2013, the board of the Santa Catalina Island Company decided to create a non-profit foundation, and deeded the chimes and tower to it. The newly formed Catalina Chimes Tower Foundation (CCTF) had its first meeting in 2015, and took ownership of the building. Since then, the CCTF Board has been developing a plan to restore and beautify the iconic structure and its surroundings.

As the CCTF works on the design, costs, and timeline of this project, a number of residents and visitors from overtown have begun making donations to CCTF, and many others have asked how they can help. The Catalina Chimes Tower Foundation welcomes donations from individuals, organizations and businesses, as it launches fundraising efforts for this Avalon landmark. To kick things off, Geoffrey C. and Alison Wrigley Rusack have issued a challenge grant, and will match the first $100,000 raised.

For those who would like to help, tax-deductible contributions may be made on our website, www.CatalinaChimes.org, or sent to the Catalina Chimes Tower Foundation at P.O. Box 677, Avalon, CA 90704. For questions or comments please e-mail info@catalinachimes.org.

Chimes Tower group begins fundraising efforts