Marilla Avenue

Etta Marilla Whitney (1862-1950) named the city of Avalon. Born Etta Marilla Ticknor in Flint, MI, in 1885 she married the New York-born, Michigan-raised Edwin John “E.J.” Whitney (1852-1931); E.J.’s sister happened to be Clara Shatto, who with her husband George bought Santa Catalina Island in 1887. The townsite they planned there was going to be called “Shatto” until Etta, a fan of Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s Idylls of the King, in which King Arthur retires to the mythical island of Avalon, suggested that instead. The Whitneys actually lived in Avalon for years, from its rugged early days through the 1910s; they ran the Glenmore Hotel and E.J. served as Catalina’s first justice of the peace. They eventually relocated to Claremont, where their son Walter attended Pomona College. He would later become a professor of astronomy there.