In 1929, dynamite forever changed the look of Catalina’s Avalon Bay. Long one of Catalina’s most prominent landmarks, Sugar Loaf Rock was a volcanic monolith rising some 50 feet above the harbor where Avalon’s iconic Casino building stands today. Early 20th-century guidebooks described the Sugar Loaf as Avalon’s “sentinel rock,” and picture postcards—like the one above from the Catalina Island Museum’s collections—made the promontory known across the county. Each Fourth of July, Avalon’s fireworks spectacular transformed the Sugar Loaf into an erupting Mount Vesuvius, its summit ablaze and its flanks striped in red, white, and blue. When it went dormant, a rickety steel ladder beckoned adventurous tourists to the top, where commanding views of the resort town—and an iron safety rail—awaited them.
Publication Date: June 4, 2016