Catalina Island features a number of landmark buildings. The Casino. The Holly Hill House. Chimes Tower. Two of Santa Catalina’s most famous buildings perch over Avalon Harbor and are only open – most of the time – to members. The Catalina Island Yacht Club, with its distinctive lighthouse tower, and the Avalon Tuna Club, with its storied history, are both private clubs that have become local landmarks.
Founded in 1898 by legendary angler Charles Holder, the Avalon Tuna Club is only open to members and their guests. Tuna Club members are men who adhere to strict rules designed to exemplify the challenges in sport fishing and preserve the ocean resources upon which that sport depends. Members have included actors and statesmen, diplomats and writers. Cecile B. DeMille, Zane Grey, George Patton, Winston Churchill and Charlie Chaplin are just a few of the storied names on the Avalon Tuna Club’s list of previous members.
The two-story building features social areas downstairs and sleeping accommodations for members upstairs. Throughout the building is more than a century’s worth of trophies, antique angling equipment and photos. Once a year, as a fundraiser for the Catalina Island Museum, that world-renowned collection and the building itself is open for very limited public tours.