Island to which Britain's legendary King Arthur was taken after he was mortally wounded in his last battle. First described by Geoffrey of Monmouth, it was said to be ruled by Morgan le Fay and her eight sisters, all of whom were skilled in the healing arts. Legend held that when Arthur was healed he would return to rule Britain. The tale may have originated in Celtic myths of an elysium for fallen heros. Avalon has sometimes been identified with Glastonbury in Somerset.
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Avalon, or Avalon Bay, is the only city on Santa Catalina Island. Besides Avalon, the only other center of population is the small unincorporated town of Two Harbors on the island. Its ZIP code is 90704 and it is in Los Angeles County, California, United States. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 3,127, with another 195 close outside of the city limits. The population is now estimated to be over 3,500. The default for wired phone numbers in the Avalon central office is (310) 510-XXXX, however, beginning on August 26, 2006, many of the phone numbers were transferred to the newly created 424 area code.
The older parts of the town nearer the shoreline are dominated by small houses and two and three-story buildings in various traditional architectural styles. There are also several large apartment complexes nestled in the hills away from the shoreline, so that they are not obvious in most postcard photos of Avalon.
Avalon is a rural waterfront town with the usual tourist-oriented businesses and services lining the coastline. Apart from the town itself, primary attractions include various trails into the hills surrounding the town, and the Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Garden just outside of town in the hills to the southwest.
During World War II, Catalina Island was closed to tourists and used by the military. The United States Maritime Service established a training station in Avalon. The United States Coast Guard and the Office of Strategic Services also had facilities on the island.
Avalon has a very mild subtropical climate with warm temperatures year-round.
The city is served by several high-speed passenger boats with regular daily service to Newport Beach, San Pedro, Long Beach, Marina del Rey, and Dana Point. Catalina Airport (FAA Identifier: AVX), also known as Airport-in-the-Sky, is located at (NAD83 rounded from FAA-provided coordinates): , northwest of Avalon. Fixed-wing flights other than emergency landings require prior arrangements. Several helicopter companies serve the city.
The main method of transportation in Avalon is by small gasoline-powered motorcars similar to golf carts. For purposes of vehicle registration, Catalina Island is divided into two parts: Avalon and everywhere else. It is very difficult to get a permit to have a full sized vehicle in Avalon. The city has its own strict permit program with which local vehicle owners must comply, in addition with the usual requirements imposed by the statewide Department of Motor Vehicles.
Visitors can walk, rent a bicycle, rent a cart, ride a shuttle bus, or hire one of several private taxis.
As of the census of 2000, there were 3,127 people, 1,158 households, and 719 families residing in the city. The population density was 429.7/km² (1,112.4/mi²). There were 1,839 housing units at an average density of 252.7/km² (654.2/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 71.63% White, 0.74% Black 1.02% Native American, 0.61% Asian, 0.22% Pacific Islander, 20.37% from other races, and 5.40% from two or more races. 45.95% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 1,158 households out of which 38.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.0% were married couples living together, 11.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.9% were non-families. 31.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.65 and the average family size was 3.38.
In the city the population was spread out with 30.3% under the age of 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 30.2% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 10.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 99.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $39,327, and the median income for a family was $46,406. Males had a median income of $30,789 versus $24,643 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,032. About 9.2% of families and 10.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.5% of those under age 18 and 4.6% of those age 65 or over.
In the state legislature Avalon is located in the 27th Senate District, represented by Democrat Alan Lowenthal, and in the 54th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Betty Karnette. Federally, Avalon is located in California's 46th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +6 and is represented by Republican Dana Rohrabacher.
Children in Avalon attend schools in the Long Beach Unified School District.
Avalon is served by the K-12 Avalon Schools, which is divided into elementary, junior high, and high schools, but with a single principal LBUSD also has a one-room school, Two Harbors Elementary School, at Two Harbors in unincorporated Los Angeles County.
Avalon is served by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department(a few deputies are stationed on the island), and has its own volunteer fire department for incidents within the city limits, while the Los Angeles County Fire Department serves the rest of the island.
A fire broke out on May 10 2007 in the hills north and west of Avalon. At least three structures burned, and of the Island were burned. Avalon City Councilman Scott Nelson said: "We've lost five or six small businesses in Falls Canyon and a construction company building in Birdpark Canyon."
Nelson said about 100 firefighters were battling the blaze and that another 200 new recruits, arriving by hovercraft and Marine helicopters, were bedding down at the airport to work the day shift in the morning. Catalina Express was also running extra boats through the night to take people off the island. 700 evacuees were reportedly at the Cesar E. Chavez center in Long Beach.
According to Associated Press, the blaze was started by contractors cutting steel wire with a torch for day-time only AM radio station, KBRT. (See http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070513/ap_on_re_us/wildfires_52)