Each morning at 8 a.m., the melodic tones of the Chimes Tower echo through Avalon and across Avalon Harbor. Every 15 minutes, for the next eight hours, the Chimes announce the time, with a brief melody that has become a soundtrack for life on Catalina Island, California.
Located on a hill in the northwest side of the town, Chimes Tower first tolled the time in 1925. Ada Wrigley, the wife of William Wrigley, Jr. gave the tower and its chimes to the City of Avalon. An urban myth has long contended that the gift was intended to irritate novelist and adventurer Zane Grey, whose home was across the street. Mrs. Wrigley, the story goes, was offended that women weren’t allowed in the Tuna Club, which Grey had founded some years before. According to legend, She had the Chimes installed and set up their 8 a.m. schedule in order to annoy the notoriously late sleeping Grey.
No matter what the intention of her gift, it has endured. Chimes Tower’s multi-colored Catalina tile roof grace many Catalina Island vacation photos and its reliable time-telling has left many travelers without an excuse for being late. During holidays, Jani Eisenhut often plays the chimes, which are capable of much more than just their regular time-telling tones.