His chewing gum profits got him to Catalina Island: William Wrigley, Jr. 1861 September 30th.


A purchase of Santa Catalina island was funded by the profits of his chewing gum company, William Wrigley, Jr. was born on this date, September 30th, 1861.

From 1919 until Wrigley`s death in 1932, Catalina Island was of great interest to him. Rather than just chewing some Wrigley gum and dreaming, he decided to purchase controlling interest in the Santa Catalina Island Co., which owned the island. Pouring his chewing gum profits and enthusiasm into improving the 76-square-mile island, Wrigley brought new steamships, public utilities, a hotel, casino and extensive plantings of trees, shrubs and flowers to the island.

In 1921, Wrigley built the 9,800-square-foot main house and 2,800-square- foot servants` wing on top of Mt. Ada, which was named after his wife.  A modest little abode which stands today.  There, from his den, Wrigley reportedly watched the Cubs in spring training in the canyon below. There is no report on what the Cubs players thought about conducting their training on a remote island rather than on the mainland.  It is a lot easier to keep one’s mind on the game when it is the “only game in town.”

Much of what Wrigley built during his lifetime has become intricately entwined with the island’s culture: the Catalina Island Casino is recognized around the world as an Island icon; the Catalina Country Club, initially the clubhouse for Wrigley’s Chicago Cubs, has seen millions of visitors over the years and Mt. Ada, the home Wrigley built, continues to perch over Avalon and today welcomes hundreds of visitors each year as an exclusive bed and breakfast.

The story of Wrigley and his island off the coast of California is one of chewing gum profits.  It proves that while “no man is an island”… it is still possible for a wealthy man to owe one.



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