Exhibitions > A Democratic Dream: William Wrigley, Jr. and Catalina Island
August 31, 2012 - November 26, 2012William Wrigley, Jr.`s story embodies the American dream. Bored with school but brimming with ideas and a burning ambition to succeed, he went to work in his father`s factory at the age of 12. He eventually set out on his own, and within thirty years built one of the world`s most successful businesses: the Wm. Wrigley, Jr. Company. But to William Wrigley, Jr., simply acquiring wealth "wasn`t worth a hill of beans." Driven by an unparalleled sense of generosity, he often left work late at night and, although one of the world`s wealthiest men, worked in a soup kitchen feeding the poorest of Chicago`s poor. He bought the Chicago Cubs and implemented so many changes that the team soon became the most popular ball club in America. But his most lasting legacy, and the dream that he embraced the tightest, was Catalina Island. He invested millions in the Island with one single objective in mind: build an island paradise, where the "rank and file" of America could enjoy a vacation they never dreamed they could afford. A former middle school drop out, he was introduced at the White House as the "owner of Catalina Island." He was delighted, and beamed with pride as Catalina Island became known as "the People`s Island."
A Democratic Dream explores William Wrigley, Jr.`s vision for Catalina and commemorates the 80th anniversary of his death.
"I want to make this little spot an attractive, healthy and enjoyable spot for the thousands of wage-earners who get little chance to rest and enjoy themselves as they would like. I want to get the thing so adjusted that the island is self-supporting, but run without a nickel of profit. Right now it is far from a healthy investment financially, but I am tickled to spend more money to make it the vacation spot for the tired shop girl, the artisan, the clerk or the Boy Scout." - William Wrigley, Jr., 1922
Steve and Ronna Schreiner
`Ohana Harbor Coffee
Jim and Joyce Brown
The Capital Companies Charitable Foundation
Steven Mandel, M.D.
Nathan and Christy Lins
Catalina Island Museum Patrons Society
Santa Catalina Island Company